Grid divorce, Japanese style. Will it come to a country near you?


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: A grid divorce movement is strongly underway in Japan, mostly in reaction to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which tainted the trustworthiness of Japanese electric power utilities. Could this phenomenon spread to other countries? Will it reach enough volume to create economies of scale, driving down prices for the necessary technologies? Use the Comment form to record your opinion. - By Jesse Berst


Rightly or wrongly, utilities in the U.S. and Europe don't worry much about grid divorce - the idea that more and more businesses and consumers will opt to become self-sufficient.


I can certainly argue that they should be nervous. Consider, for instance, that:

·         Walmart plans to reduce its energy use by 20% and self-generate as much of its electricity as it can

·         Philadelphia's GridSTAR demonstration project seems to be a proving ground for grid divorce

·         An Austin-based IT consultancy has just published a short guide on how to "take your office off the grid"

·         Some experts think we are close to the day that fuel cells combined with energy storage combined with solar PV can take homes and small businesses off the grid


Whether or not grid divorce becomes a force elsewhere in the world, it has turned into a veritable fad in Japan. According to, "tens of thousands of Japanese homeowners have started generating their own power from hydrogen fuel cells and solar panels, turning the country into the world’s leading laboratory for overturning the traditional grid and the century-old business model behind it."


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