Geothermal development in Japan kept alive by small-scale projects

The Power+ unit of Electratherm on site in Beppu, Japan (source: Electratherm)
Alexander Richter 11 Mar 2018

With continued opposition to larger-scale geothermal projects, developer of small-scale projects of around 100 kW show that development is possible and successful, as cases in Beppu, Oita Prefecture show.

Despite magnificent resources and potential, Japan has not been able to use a momentum for renewable energy following the Fukushima nuclear accident for the development of geothermal projects.

The country introduced favourable feed-in-tariffs and also made development near national parks a bit easier, but the big kick never came. There are though individual developers pushing the geothermal agenda. Supported by the feed-in-tariff, small-scale geothermal power plants have been set up, e.g. in Beppu in Oita Prefecture.

In an article by the Christian Science Monitor, an example is provided from Beppu where the company Sanko Electric has bought a small unit by Reno/ Nevada-based ElectraTherm to produce 70-100 kW of power beside a geothermal hot spring operation.

In a report by Frost & Sullivan this small-scale geothermal development is described in detail. We reported on it late last year.

Despite general opposition by Onsen owners and others afraid natural hot springs could dry up due to geothermal power generation, these small-scale projects are being developed … even in larger scale as interest by international investor Thai Lux Enterprises shows.

Source: Christian Science Monitor