Japan geothermal projects pick up
There is now some development, with several Japanese firms kicking off new projects to build geothermal power plants this year for the first time in nearly 20 years.
With 18 geothermal power stations in operation, the strong experience of Japanese players in this market, and the vast potential for geothermal power generation in the country, still only 0.2% of electricity generated in Japan comes from geothermal. Today, nuclear power stations account for most of the electricity generation in the country and are seen as the most important element in reducing carbon emissions.
But there is now some development, with several Japanese firms kicking off new projects to build geothermal power plants this year for the first time in nearly 20 years. The companies, Mitsubishi Materials Corp, Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power), Nittetsu Mining Co Ltd. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. will lead the way and the government plans to step up support for geothermal power station development.
Mitsubishi Materials and J-Power plan to invest roughly 40 billion yen ($433.9 million) and construct a geothermal power plant in Yuzawa in Akita Prefecture, northern Japan. By tapping hot water and steam around 2,000 meters below the surface, this facility is expected to generate up to 60,000 kW of power and is scheduled to begin operating as early as 2016, the Nikkei said. Mitsubishi Materials already owns two geothermal power stations, while J-Power owns one.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has decided to set up a study group of industry experts and academics, to compile by April steps to support geothermal power stations, including providing financial assistance for initial investments, the paper added.
Source: Reuters (Nikkei business daily report)