Japan could be geothermal energy leader  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

AFP has a report on geothermal energy potential in Japan - Japan could be geothermal energy leader: US expert.

A prominent US environmentalist said Wednesday Japan should focus on developing geothermal energy, saying the volcanic island-nation could become the global leader in the field.

"Japan could make geothermal energy the centre of its new energy economy just as the US or China will make wind the centre of theirs," Lester Brown, president of the US-based Earth Policy Institute, told a news conference.

"There are no leaders in the world today in this field. There is no industrial country in the world that now has a well established geothermal industry" Brown said at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.

Japan, located at the crossroads of four tectonic plates and on what is known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire" and dotted with volcanoes, is one of the world's most quake-prone countries.

If Japan can launch full development of geothermal energy technology, "it would not only lower carbon emissions in Japan, but it would also give Japanese industry the potential for playing a leading role in developing the world's geothermal energy resources." he said.

Brown noted that demand for the technology will grow in other geothermal-rich countries located on tectonic faultlines such as Indonesia and the Philippines in Asia as well as Chile, Peru and Colombia in South America.

"This is an opportunity for Japan to move to the centre stage in an area where it is richly endowed," he added.

Japan makes use of hot springs as a resource for tourism, but geothermal energy only accounts for 0.3 percent of its energy mix, and the country relies heavily on imports of oil and other resources.



Kiwis (and Icelanders) might find Lester's claim that no industrial country has an established geothermal industry a bit insulting. The NZ Herald has a report on their latest power station to open - Geothermal power station opens early.
Contact Energy's $100 million geothermal power station Tauhara One, near Taupo, has been finished three weeks ahead of schedule.

Contact managing director David Baldwin today said the 23-megawatt (MW) station, which would provide enough baseload renewable energy for about 23,000 homes, was also finished under budget. ...

Contact is seeking consents for a 250MW Tauhara Two geothermal power station through a board of inquiry process and advancing development of its consented 220MW Te Mihi power station.

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