Opposition stalling geothermal development in Fukushima

Bandai, Fukushima, Japan (source: flickr/ danaspencer, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 4 Jun 2012

Opposition from local hot spring operators is currently stalling geothermal development in the Prefecture of Fukushima in Japan, despite the local government's support.

Reported from Japan, opposition from local hot spring operators is stalling proposed large scale geothermal development in the Prefecture of Fukushima.

The fear of local hot spring (onsen) operators has in the past been a major element in the lack of further geothermal development in Japan.

Following last year’s earthquake and tsunami the Fukushima prefecture is looking at renewable energy as a key to recovery of the region and the prefectural government has been supporting geothermal development.

“The project, prompted by the central government’s deregulation on excavation work in March, was initiated by Idemitsu Kosan Co. and eight other companies. The government relaxed regulations on some drilling work in national parks under certain conditions, to promote renewable energy projects.

In response, the syndicate drew up a plan to build geothermal facilities inside Bandai-Asahi National Park, located to the south of the Ou Mountains, which extend into Fukushima.

The area is seen as a good candidate for geothermal development because active volcanoes such as Mt. Azuma and Mt. Adatara are nearby. The plan involves creating the biggest geothermal plant in the nation, with a maximum output capacity of 270,000 kilowatts.

The companies started consultations with local residents in April, and met with opposition from hot spring resort operators who are worried about how the development could affect spring water.”

Source: Daily Yomiuri Online