Operating Agent:  Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC)

Executive Committee Member: Kasumi Yasukawa, JOGMEC, Japan

Alternate Member: Shota Oda, 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.

At the end of 2023 Japanese geothermal power plant capacity was ~500 MWe.

Direct geothermal use capacity is ~2100 MWth producing about 24,000 TJ/year of energy in 2023.

Geothermal Heat pump capacity installed is ~225 MWth (2022 data).

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.

The 2023 report includes information on three research and development projects:

  • Development of Advanced MT Survey Equipment – which is well advanced,
  • The successful recharge of the Yanaizu-Nishiyama reservoir using fresh water, and
  • Enhanced Geothermal Systems research to establish heat extraction methods using super critical CO2

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 below.

2023 Japan Country Report

2022 Japan Country Report

2021 Japan Country Report

2020 Japan Country Report

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