Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris met recently with the Consul General of Japan to discuss joining the global effort in the creation of a “Hydrogen Society” to decrease greenhouse emissions, pollution, and provide cleaner air.

In a “Hydrogen Society,” cities and countries commit to low-cost, zero-emission production of hydrogen, and use new and existing infrastructure to distribute it for applications in transportation, heating, and power generation. This, in turn, reduces greenhouse gases which cause pollution and trap more and more heat into the atmosphere, resulting in a warmer Earth.

 Akira Muto, Japan’s General Consul in Los Angeles, reached out to Lancaster Mayor Parris for his leadership in effecting a global Hydrogen-Powered Society (HPS). Lancaster, known as the “alternative energy capital of the world,” has been leading the charge for alternative and advanced energy uses for more than a decade.

In 2017, Japan became the first country to announce plans for the investment and innovation necessary to develop a complete HPS. Joining these global efforts, together, along with, Koji Imai, Japan Consul in Los Angeles; Keith Jones of the California Fuel Cell Partnership; and Lex Heslin, Senior Project Developer for Hitachi Zosen Inova’s (HZI) anaerobic digestion (AD) plants in the U.S. will result in a better Earth for generations to come.

“Lancaster’s success with renewable energy has overseas eyes looking at it as a model for the future. Since being elected, renewable energy has always been a key focus for me. I want to lay the foundation for my grandchildren. In 2010, Lancaster committed to becoming the first “Net Zero” energy city in the world and achieved that goal in 2019 – meaning that Lancaster now generates more clean energy than it consumes” Parris said. “In fact, Lancaster boasts more than $1 billion of investment in solar power generation plants.”

Heslin worked with the City of Lancaster a decade ago to develop one of the first solar plants in Lancaster. As the interest in photovoltaic (PV) energy grew, Heslin and Parris hosted senior leaders from Japanese companies, such as Solar Frontier, which were attracted to local renewable energy opportunities.

Heslin also joined Parris on a trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2012 where the Mayor spoke at the prestigious World Future Energy Summit (WFES). While in Abu Dhabi they met with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) Chairman Kazuo Furukawa to further discuss bringing advanced Japanese technology and investment to Lancaster. Relationships that have continued to this day.