Operating Agent:  Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC)

Executive Committee Member: Kasumi Yasukawa, JOGMEC, Japan

Alternate Member: Susumu Nagae, JOGMEC, Japan

Geothermal power generation first occurred in Beppu City, Oita Prefecture, Kyushu in 1925 (1.12 kW). The practical use of geothermal power really commenced in 1966 with the commissioning of the 9.5 MWe Matsukawa Geothermal Power Plant (currently 23.5 MWe), Iwate Prefecture, in northern Honshu. In 2016, marking its fiftieth year of operation, the Matsukawa Geothermal Power Plant was certified as a Mechanical Engineering Site of Japan by the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Japan, as a volcanic country, is blessed with potential geothermal resources for development, including the prospect of super-critical resources.  However, the construction of geothermal power plants is influenced by factors such as access restrictions associated with National Parks,  the number of hot spring resort owners who are not so accepting of geothermal energy projects  and a poor understanding amongst the general public about geothermal energy and its benefits.

At the end of March 2018 Japanese geothermal electricity capacity was ~500 MWe, down slightly from the peak in 2011.

During 2019 two larger capacity units; Wasabizawa (42 MWe), in Akita, and Matsuo-Hachimantai (7 MWe), in Iwate, are scheduled to come on line.

Direct geothermal use capacity is ~2400 MWth producing about 230,00 TJ/year of energy.

Geothermal Heat pump capacity is ~160 MWth.

Promotional measures in play since 2011 to intensify deployment of Renewable Energy have brought renewed interest in geothermal energy development in Japan and details on this can be found in the Japan Country Reports through the hyperlinks below.

JOGMEC is active in three technology research and development themes;

  • Geothermal Reservoir Evaluation and Management,
  • Improvement of Exploration Accuracy, and
  • Drilling Technology Development.

NEDO began research in 2017 on subduction-origin supercritical geothermal resources, which has potential for giga-watt scale power generation for Japan, with a pilot plant targeted to be operational by 2030. Fundamental studies are being conducted by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and Kyoto University looking to utilise the 500oC super critical fluids that are anticipated to be present at up to 5km depths in old calderas in Northern Honshu and Kyushu.

2018 Japan Country Report

2017 Japan Country Report

2016 Japan Country Report

2014 Japan Country Report

2013 Japan Country Report

2012 Japan Country Report