Japan urged to apply its international geothermal expertise domestically

The Power+ unit of Electratherm on site in Beppu, Japan (source: Electratherm)
Alexander Richter 12 Apr 2018

With its large domestic geothermal development potential and international supply of funding and geothermal technloogy, Japan is not making much use of its domestic resources. Current small-scale development can only be a beginning.

During a visit to Japan earlier this month, IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin to discussed the era of renewable energy diplomacy and Japan’s place within a global energy sector that is undergoing a rapid transformation with Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, HE Taro Kono, as reported by Modern Diplomacy.

During a visit to the Fukushima Renewable Energy Laboratory (FREA), at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Koriyama City Adnan Amin pointed out the leadership of Japan when it comes to technological innovation in renewable energy, putting the country in a strong position to scale up the use of renewable energy domestically.

With its technology research, it is considered one of the top three cleantech innovation hubs in the world.

The Director-General also visited a remarkable geothermal binary power generation plant in Tsuchiya Onsen Town. Japan has the third highest potential for geothermal energy in the world (23 GW), but is currently only using around 2% of this.  The plants, which were established as part of recovery efforts, are an excellent model of how geothermal power generation can coexist with tourism related to Japanese onsen (hotsprings), which are typically the most accessible sites to harness geothermal energy. Warm water drainage from the Tsuchiya plant is even powering a thriving shrimp farming business.

Today, the majority of all turbines being used in geothermal plants around the world have been supplied by Japanese companies, yet only small-scale plants are currently being developed. With its potential, Japan is in a great position to apply its expertise domestically.

Source: IRENA