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In its seemingly never ending quest to find alternative sources of energy to replace its nuclear power sector, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry has stated that 21 new geothermal power plants are set to be built around the country.
Shinichiro Fukushima, an official in charge of geothermal energy at the ministry department has explained that incentives for clean energy, such as the extremely high rates offered for power generated by underground geothermal sources.
“Even very small projects are now worth the cost with the introduction of feed-in tariffs,” he said.
Japan offers a subsidy for geothermal power plants larger than 15MW of $0.27 per kilowatt hour, and $0.42 per kilowatt hour for smaller plant.
Related article: France In Tight Spot over Geothermal ‘Fracking’
The 21 new projects are of varying sizes, and at varying stages of development; all are still under consideration, but likely to be approved.
Before the new subsidy scheme Japan’s geothermal sector was made up of large-scale projects in the Hokkaido and Tohoku regions in the North of the country, and in the southern island of Kyushu. Now it is economically feasible for plants to be built of almost any size, and in almost any part of the country.
Japan currently has 17 geothermal plants in operation, providing a total capacity of 520MW and amking Japan the world’s 8th largest producer of geothermal electricity according to the Geothermal Energy Association.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com