Energy / Climate Change

October 1, 2013


Japanese Hotel Association Suggests Ways for Geothermal Power Generation to Coexist with Hot Spring Resorts

Keywords: Civil Society / Local Issues Non-manufacturing industry Renewable Energy 

The All Japan Ryokan Hotel Association (ARHA) released in March 2013 a report entitled "Research Report on Coexistence between Geothermal Power Generation and Hot Spring Resorts -- Current Situation and Future Considerations." In the report, the ARHA proposes five measures to help geothermal development projects coexist with hot spring resorts.

This report was produced by the ARHA's study committee on geothermal power generation as a project in fiscal 2012. The committee visited three geothermal power plants, including hot spring power generation facilities, to see their operation, and also conducted hearings in the neighboring hot spring resorts. After examining these results as well as scientific knowledge obtained from various fields, the committee concluded that the coexistence between geothermal electricity generation and hot spring resorts could be quite difficult at present. It suggests the need for careful, well-considered decisions on development projects.

The five proposals in the report call for (1) local consent (from local governments, owners of hot-spring facilities, and others) as a prerequisite for approval of development projects; (2) disclosure of objective information and establishment of independent bodies; (3) regulations to prevent over-pumping of hot spring water (e.g., regulations to control the drilling of supplementary wells); (4) long-term monitoring of environmental impacts; and (5) written rules requiring the restoration of hot springs if they are damaged.