Japanese Spa Towns - Out with Nuclear - In with Geothermal
Traditional Japanese Hot Spring resorts have been a vocal opponent of geothermal energy due to the perceived affect on the level and quality of the water. But the nuclear disaster of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant caused the entire nation to re-evaluate their energy policies. Heavily dependent on nuclear power, Japan had only around 4% of their energy in renewable sources in 2010. Their revised policy puts renewable energy up to 30% of future energy sources.
Tsuchiyu Onsen (onsen means hot spring) is a resort town that will be the pioneer in alternative energy. Located 9 miles southwest of Fukushima city, Tsuchiyu plans to be generating 250 kilowatts of electricity at a new geothermal plant by 2014. Geothermal energy has been hindered in Japan because of restrictions on the use of public land where 80% of the potential sites are located. Because of the Fukushima accident, the government has relaxed the ban in five areas of the country.
Theoretically, Japan can move from the current 537,000 kilowatts from geothermal energy to being the third largest producer of geothermal energy in the world at 24 million kilowatts. (Behind United States and Indonesia) Being somewhat current in alternative energy sources, I was happily surprised that the United States is leading the world in geothermal energy production!
Keeping Green (and wet in Seattle),