Geothermal power has been part of the electricity grid for decades on Hawai‘i Island. In Japan, development of geothermal has been slow—but a recent move might speed things up. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.
Now there’s a policy for that. Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire Insurance is now selling insurance to operators of geothermal plants that would pay for a technical survey to determine if a plant has any impact on a nearby hot spring. Up to now, the operators of the hot springs have been on the hook for those studies…which can top a quarter of a million dollars.
Four years ago, Japan’s government eased some rules to allow geothermal power in protected national parks…as the country explores its energy options beyond nuclear power following the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Just last year Japan re-opened its first nuclear power plant since that crisis…..and today only two of the country’s 42 nuclear plants are in operation. Nuclear power once supplied about 30% of the country’s electricity needs….but a return to wide use of nuclear energy faces stiff public opposition.