Social Acceptance of Geothermal Power Generation in Japan

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Conference Paper: Social Acceptance of Geothermal Power Generation in Japan


In Japan, development of geothermal power plant has failed occasionally because of a lack of local acceptance by some stakeholders such as hot spring inn managers and local governments. In our previous study, we identified the local risk and benefit structure to facilitate the resolution of the problem by conducting stakeholder interviews and analyzing the fundamental causes of opposition for hot spring inn managers. The objective of this study was to analyze local government and public attitudes regarding geothermal energy and to clarify the essential provisions for risk communication for mutual understanding and co-prosperity related to geothermal power generation. We conducted a mail-in questionnaire survey of local governments to clarify the concerns and opinions about geothermal energy in February 2012. An internet questionnaire survey was also conducted in February 2013 to examine public attitudes toward geothermal energy.

It was clarified that value and risk-benefit perception of geothermal energy differed between local governments. Thus, high geothermal potential areas did not always correlate well with high acceptance by local governments. They distinguish between large-scale geothermal power plants and small-scale geothermal facilities using hot springs. The acceptance of the latter has been relatively high. On the other hand, the public might, in fact, be willing to consider the introduction of geothermal energy technologies. However, it must be noted that the public may burden geothermal power technology with excessive expectations like for solar and wind power technology. Thus developers and local governments must inform the public regarding the risk-benefit and technical characteristics of geothermal energy in an understandable way. These results suggest that it is essential to provide appropriate information depending on stakeholders and to support their understanding.

Hiromi Kubota

2015 World Geothermal Congress; Melbourne, Australia; 2015/04/20

International Geothermal Association, 2015

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Internet link for Social Acceptance of Geothermal Power Generation in Japan

Hiromi Kubota. 2015. Social Acceptance of Geothermal Power Generation in Japan. In: Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2015. 2015 World Geothermal Congress; 2015/04/20; Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne, Australia: International Geothermal Association; p. 02055