Japanese geothermal market to grow almost fourfold

Press Release   •   Aug 23, 2012 15:55 BST

The Japanese geothermal market is currently responsible for approximately 0.2% of electricity generation in the region, but with an estimated 23,000 MW of geothermal energy, opportunities to further develop Japan's geothermal resources are plenty.

Geothermal capacity in Japan could grow almost fourfold to 2 GW by the 2020s following the government's decision to allow projects in newly opened areas of national parks.

A 500-kilowatt plant at the Tsuchiyu Onsen hot spring in Fukushima City, an area not far from the epicenter of 2011's nuclear crisis is currently under way. The project has the potential to expand to 1 megawatt (MW).

The Japanese geothermal industry is set to expand in the coming years, as the country does not want to rely just on nuclear power to fulfil its electricity needs.

In the wake of the recent nuclear Fukushima disaster, Japanese authorities are looking to several other ways to generate electricity and geothermal energy makes to the top of their list.

Since the disaster last year, all but one of the nation's 54 nuclear reactors has been temporarily suspended, reducing Japan's power-generating capacity by about a third. That has accelerated the search for alternatives, with the geothermal springs nearby looking to be utilised.

Toshiba, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Fuji Electric control more than half of the global market for geothermal turbines, yet Japan itself gets a mere 0.3% of its energy, or 537 megawatts, from its own steam.

For more information on the Japanese geothermal market, see the latest research: Japanese Geothermal Market Report

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