Iceland’s ambassador to Japan, Stefan Larus Stefansson, lectured in Tokyo not too long ago about the enormous potential for geothermal energy in Japan. He pointed out that if the geothermal potential of the country could be fully invested in and tapped, about 25 nuclear reactors could be replaced.
He cited his home country’s example in this regard since nearly two-thirds of Iceland’s energy comes from this stable and renewable source of energy. Japan is the world’s third highest in terms of geothermal potential but has not seriously sought its development like it should do.
Interestingly, it’s the country’s attention to nuclear power that has resulted in this disregard to geothermal development. And Japan is far from lacking the technical know-how for geothermal installations. Actually, Japan manufactures the turbines used by Iceland in their geothermal plants. According to the total amount of geothermal power, developing countries such as El Salvador and Kenya have greater geothermal energy sources than Japan.
In Japan’s colder areas, where geothermal potential is quite good, the inhabitants’ normal method of heating their homes is with kerosene. More than 90% of heating for homes in Iceland is obtained through geothermal energy. Technically speaking, moving over to geothermal is not only possible but that Japan also has sufficient natural resources for the move. As a clean source of energy, it could result the reduction of carbon emissions and also job creation. Also, since Japan manufactures geothermal turbines, it could further develop that sector and become one of the leading exporters in the world.
One worry for advocates of geothermal energy is interfering with natural habitats when such sites are situated in national parks. An enormous hot springs in Iceland known as the Blue Lagoon has however demonstrated that this is possible as it still pulls many visitors and also preserves its environmental friendliness. It has even been once said that from 1970, Iceland has made savings of up to $7.2 billion by using geothermal power. A farmer who took care of his farm by using geothermal energy in 1908 is said to be one of the pioneers.