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Geothermal power, as an energy alternative, is safer than nuclear power and offers solutions to Japan’s energy dilemma.
Japan is a nation that has for thousands of years experienced volcanic eruptions and earthquakes which are of a large scale. Ironically, it is also a country that has for a long time been lamenting on its deficiency in natural resources. The questions arising are why Japan is not tapping into its huge potential for geothermal energy capacities and whether the country will eventually start to look into the possibility of tapping into such resources in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake, nuclear crisis and tsunami.
In spite of the fact that Japan is located above the third largest reserve of geothermal energy in the world, less than one per cent of its energy output is presently obtained from geothermal power. Even though the investment in nuclear energy has been high ever since the 1970s oil crisis, the Japanese government has continued to import its gas, coal and oil from overseas for a long time. Nuclear power accounted for 30% of the country’s electrical supplies at the time of the March 11 disaster and there were plans in place to increase this to 50% by 2050 (Bortz 24). Since the disaster, a shadow has been cast over the country’s nuclear plans by the government’s on-going stress testing of existing plants plus the ever growing hostile reactions by the public against nuclear energy. The government has therefore made a promise to renew energy policies of the country with a slow change towards more renewable natural energy sources such as geothermal energy.
Industry leaders from Japan like Mitsubishi and Toshiba control 70% market share of geothermal technology. On the other hand, Fuji Electric had a hand in the making of the largest geothermal plant in the world last year in New Zealand, a country not its homeland. This raising the question of why Japanese companies are not investing in their home
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