Jan. 25, 2021
Partnership agreement on hydrogen use and community development concluded between Namie Town (Fukushima Prefecture) and Sumitomo Corporation
The town of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture (Mayor: Kazuhiro Yoshida; hereinafter, “Namie”) and Sumitomo Corporation (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer: Masayuki Hyodo) today (January 25, 2021) concluded a partnership agreement on hydrogen use and community development (hereinafter, “the Agreement”).
Nearly a full ten years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident occurred in March 2011. Namie suffered tremendous damage and, although gradual progress is being made in rebuilding roads and restoring living conditions, the town’s residential population is still only about 10% of its pre-disaster level.
Namie and Sumitomo Corporation will be pairing Namie’s natural bounty, history and culture as well as its creation of cutting-edge industries and the fruits of other challenges it has undertaken in its recovery efforts with Sumitomo Corporation’s human resources and information network that offer access to broad-ranging expertise and technical knowledge, and the two will work with other interested parties in developing a sustainable and lively community.
Concept: “A Namie-initiated energy shift that the world will want to imitate”
How will people’s daily lives change with an energy shift(*1)? Sumitomo Corporation sees new energy as an integral part of the new lifestyle it is seeking to create in partnership with other relevant parties. The company will start from Namie in pursuing community development that utilizes distributed clean energy such as hydrogen, and then disseminate this “Fukushima Model” to the rest of Japan and ultimately the rest of the world.
(*1) A gradual switch from existing fossil energy to solar and wind power and other renewable energies as well as to hydrogen use in order to decarbonize the town’s power and heat sources
The specifics of this collaboration are as follows.
①Community development using “hydrogen energy”
Namie presented a Zero Carbon City Declaration on March 5, 2020 that posited local production of hydrogen and other renewable energies for local consumption as a key component in recovery.
To provide community residents with real-life experience of the new value available through hydrogen use, Sumitomo Corporation will first set up a multifunctional hydrogen station and then introduce FC mobility (cars, buses, trucks, bicycles, etc.) to give the community “legs.” Namie and Sumitomo Corporation will jointly undertake relevant feasibility studies to evaluate the project’s business economics and tie up with local companies and other potential business partners.
Members of the community, including town facilities and households as well as persons working in the agriculture and fishery industries, will work together to promote the use of hydrogen, and specific consideration will be given to manufacturing hydrogen in line with demand.
②Creation of mechanisms and venues for bundling actions to maintain “bonds”
The Agreement partners will utilize the functions of MIRAI LAB PALETTE(*2) set up and run by Sumitomo Corporation to participate from the design stage in the creation of sites currently under consideration by Namie. By providing coherent know-how on operating the “software” and “hardware” that will build the town’s future in an integrated fashion, the concerted efforts of companies, government officials, universities and the private sector will create “a stream of people” to support sustained development.
(*2) MIRAI LAB PALETTE: An open innovation lab designed and operated by Sumitomo Corporation in the Otemachi area of Tokyo that arranges programs and events enabling people from various fields of endeavor – from business to culture and the arts – to meet up for stimulating interactions.
<Reference: Outline of Partnership Agreement>
Based on the knowledge possessed by Sumitomo Corporation, the parties to the Agreement will endeavor to exchange information and opinions on hydrogen use and other community development in Namie to facilitate smooth community renovation there.
2. Areas of collaboration based on the Agreement
(1) Matters pertaining to hydrogen use and local production of renewable energies for local consumption
(2) Matters pertaining to efforts to expand Namie’s visiting, contributing and residential populations
(3) Other sustainable community development efforts besides hydrogen use for which mutual collaboration and cooperation are deemed necessary