Higher power prices, less red tape encourage businesses to tap massive reserves
Japanese companies are building small-scale geothermal power plants that can be completed in half the time needed for larger facilities, thanks to a more generous feed-in tariff that has made such projects more profitable.
- A joint venture by JFE Engineering, Mitsui Oil Exploration, the government-backed Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., and Japan Metals & Chemicals will break ground on a roughly 7 MW geothermal plant in Iwate Prefecture next month. The facility, expected to cost 8.5 billion yen ($75.8 million), is slated to begin operation in 2018.
- Leasing company Orix will sign an agreement soon to build a 4.4 MW plant on the island of Hachijojima, which has been seeking a partner to replace an aging Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings facility. Orix plans to invest about 5 billion yen in the project, aiming to bring the plant online around 2022.
- Oil company Idemitsu Kosan will start up a 5 MW facility in Oita Prefecture next month.
- A consortium including Electric Power Development, or J-Power, is working on Japan's first large-scale geothermal plant in 23 years: a roughly 42 MW facility in Akita Prefecture slated to go online in 2019. Other proposals for larger projects remain bogged down in environmental studies or other preparations.