Friday, December 14, 2012

200MW of Geothermal projects

Today's lead energy news in the Nikkei Shinbun is that there are now pending applications for 200MW of new geothermal projects in Japan, following a 12+ year period in which none have been constructed.  Apparently the projects are attempting to qualify for development subsidies in addition to the feed-in-tariff.

JX Kinzoku (part of the JX Group) is planning a 40MW project in Hokkaido (southern part of Sapporo City), while Tohoku Electric Power, an incumbent utility, is planning a 50MW project in Akita Prefecture.  A government-affiliated oil exploration company is also planning a project in Eastern Hokkaido.  While the projects will take up to 10 years to complete (ouch), they apparently already have support from the local governments and, more important, from any potentially affected owners and operators of hot spring hotels (onsen ryokan) in the vicinity.   

METI is planning to offer 20 billion yen (almost $250 million) of subsidies for the development phase of these projects, and further applications could be received by December-end.

These projects do not yet show up on METI's list of FIT certifications, which has a "0" first year target for geothermal, given the long lead times involved.

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