In celebration of Geothermal Power Day October 8, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) hosted the 10th Geothermal Symposium in Tokyo. Here are some of the key messages.
Geothermal power accelerating in public-private unity: Since hosting the 1st Geothermal Symposium in Fukushima where the 2011Great East Japan Earthquake hit, all the symposiums have been hosted in areas with geothermal power plants only. This time, to celebrate the 10th symposium, it was held in Tokyo for the first time. As a country rich in geothermal resources, Japan will promote to further expand its use of geothermal power. The objective of the event is to not only promote the geothermal business but also increase awareness of geothermal among the general public.
Plan to Accelerate Geothermal Development towards 2050 Carbon Neutrality: In 2020, the Japanese government declared it would aim for carbon neutrality by 2050. Due to the ongoing energy crisis, the demand for secure energy supply has become stronger than ever. The government has declared geothermal as a dispersed power source that contributes to the stabilization of energy in the local communities, as well as a power source that can be beneficial in other areas as well due to the multistage use of the water used in the power generation process. In order to substantially expand geothermal power, they developed the “Acceleration of Geothermal Development Plan” in 2021. By 2030 they aim to expand geothermal power by three times compared to 2020. For the plan to succeed the government highlights four important aspects; The regulatory aspect, the financial aspect, the technical aspect and the understanding and cooperation of local communities.
Deregulation The government has started planning for a re-evaluation of the “Natural Parks Act” as well as the “Hot Spring Law”, which up until now have been a hindrance to the advancement of geothermal development. 80 % of the biggest potential areas for geothermal resources are located within national or quasi-national parks. From now on they want to investigate the volume of geothermal resources in these areas, make the results public and then help back up new geothermal development.
Financial Assistance The government will provide developers with subsidies and loan guarantees for the first-stage investigation. They will also invest in exploration projects abroad. They will then introduce the knowledge gained from large scale geothermal power generation abroad and apply to Japan.
Technical Development The government will actively promote the development of projects such as Supercritical Power Generation Technology and CO2 geothermal power technologies.
Understanding and Cooperation from Locals While gaining understanding and cooperation from the local communities, developers need to push geothermal development in a way that benefits them, creating a symbiosis between geothermal and the local communities. For this the government has developed a structure enabling the local communities to promote the development on their own initiatives; set up a “Regional Decarbonation Creation Office in the local environmental offices and deploy a geothermal expert to support the developers and the municipalities.
Geothermal Ambassadors appointed: Alpinist Ken Noguchi and actress Kō Shibasaki have been appointed as ambassadors working to deepen the general publics’ awareness of geothermal. At the symposium they enthusiastically talked about geothermal in relation to day-to-day life from their own individual perspective.
You can watch the symposium and download the documents from the link below (only available in Japanese)