Japan to review legislation to push geothermal development

Japan to review legislation to push geothermal development Tokyo skyscrapers with view to Mt. Fuji (source: Morio, creative commons CC BY-SA 3.0)
Alexander Richter 28 Apr 2021

To support Japan's new climate goals, the Ministry of the Environment announces plans to adapt legislation helping to push geothermal development in Japan.

Yesterday, the Japanese government announced new new climate goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the fiscal year of 2030 by 46% from 2013 levels. At a press conference, Shinjiro Koizumi, Japan’s Minister for the Environment also made some statements related to geothermal energy in this context, so Nippon.

After the Cabinet meeting on the April 27, Minister Koizumi announced that he would accelerate the development of geothermal power generation with plans to double the number of geothermal plants operating in Japan today. There are around 60 geothermal plants running in Japan today and around 62 project. By reviewing the operation of related laws and regulations and coordinating with the local community, the period until operation, which currently takes more than 10 years, will be shortened to a minimum of 8 years. 

Geothermal plants of Japan (ThinkGeoEnergy/ Map)

Mr. Koizumi said, “Geothermal has a long time to go into operation, but I want to make it in 30 years. The Ministry of the Environment will take the initiative.”

In addition to reviewing the operation of the Natural Parks Act and the Hot Spring Act, the Ministry of the Environment has designated promotion areas based on the revision of the Global Warming Countermeasures Promotion Act, which is currently under deliberation in the Diet, monitoring the impact on hot springs and coordinating with hot spring operators. Accelerate geothermal development through. Specific measures have been presented at a Cabinet Office meeting this week.

In the past the location of geothermal resources in natural parks has been a challenging element in pushing development. Yet favourable feed-in-tariffs and renewable energy support have seen a growing number of geothermal projects, while mostly small-scale development.

Geothermal power generation is a renewable energy that uses the heat of underground magma to stabilize the amount of power generated, and is characterized by a higher utilization rate than wind power and sunlight, which fluctuate greatly. Heat sources are concentrated in national parks near volcanoes. The energy mix, which shows the current power source composition as of FY2018, is expected to be about 1%. Regarding the effects of the new geothermal promotion measures, Mr. Koizumi only stated that “I do not know at this point unless I develop it.”

Source: Nikkei