Marubeni plans geothermal tests in Hokkaido national park - report
Feb 27, 2013 - Japanese trader Marubeni Corp (TYO:8002) intends to explore the possibility of building a geothermal power plant at Daisetsuzan National Park in central Hokkaido, taking advantage of the latest deregulation on the Japanese market, Nikkei said today.
Marubeni presented its plan to conduct a geological survey as early as this spring at a meeting in Kamikawa, where the Daisetsuzan park is located. The idea was welcomed by the local authorities and representatives of the local tourist industry, the report said. Now the company needs to secure an approval by the Japanese Environment Ministry before launching the survey.
The tests, which will last up to two years, will focus on factors such as underground conditions and heat sources. Then, Marubeni plans to make trial drills to measure the potential amount of steam. It would also have to complete environmental assessment and other procedures that are estimated to take at least eight years.
Japan can rank among the biggest geothermal power producers globally, as its estimated geothermal resource is 23.5 GW, according to a study from June 2012 by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Yet, 80% of the suitable sites for geothermal projects are in national parks, where restrictions have been in place for years to save the landscape and ecosystems.