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Plan to triple geothermalpower output on island

January 13, 2013


Tokyo gov't plans to increase geothermal power output on Hachijo Island



The Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to increase the output of a geothermal power station on Hachijo Island in the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo by three times by fiscal 2018 to generate 80 percent of locally consumed power, Gov. Naoki Inose says.

The metropolitan government is set to establish a study panel on the project comprised of experts and local officials. Construction work will commence in fiscal 2014, and be completed in fiscal 2018.

If the plan materializes, it will be the first time in Japan for a majority of electric power consumed in a single municipality to be generated through renewable energy. The island is under the jurisdiction of the Hachijo Municipal Government.

"We'll promote the local production of electric power for consumption on the island, and diversify energy sources," says Gov. Inose.

A geothermal power station with an output of 2,000 kilowatts, which Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) built in 1999, supplies 25 percent of total electric power consumed on the island with a population of some 8,000. The remainder is generated by a diesel power generator.

However, the geothermal plant needs to be either reconstructed or repaired as its service life will end within the next decade.

Under the plan, the metropolitan government will serve as the coordinator of the project, and solicit private companies to undertake the work. The output of the new geothermal power station will be 6,000 kilowatts, three times the current one.

Construction costs are estimated to be in the billions of yen, but the metropolitan government says the project will be profitable if power is sold to TEPCO for 42 yen per kilowatt per house under the government's feed-in-tariff system for renewable energy.

TEPCO can substantially reduce its fuel costs at the diesel power plant if its ratio to the total amount of power consumed on the island declines sharply. The project will also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

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