Japan

Japan

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 abundant geothermal resources, including the prospect of super-critical resources.  The development of geothermal power is influenced by factors such as National Park access restrictions,  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.

During 2019 power production commenced at the 42 MWe Wasabizawa (Akita), and the 7 MWe Matsuo-Hachimantai (Iwate) geothermal facilities..

At the end of 2019 Japanese geothermal power plant capacity was ~550 MWe.

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 funding research in 2017 on subduction-origin supercritical geothermal resources, which has potential for tens of giga-watts of power generation for Japan, with a pilot plant targeted to be operational by 2040. Fundamental studies are being conducted by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and Kyoto University looking to utilise the 500oC supercritical fluids that are anticipated to be present at up to 5km depths in many of the volcanic zones in Japan.

2019 Japan Country Report

2018 Japan Country Report

2017 Japan Country Report

2016 Japan Country Report

2014 Japan Country Report

2013 Japan Country Report

2012 Japan Country Report