Naked Bathers Protest Geothermal Plants in Japan

onsen in japan photo

Ubayu Onsen, Yamagata

If any country after Iceland was suitable for geothermal power, it would be Japan- it has the potential to produce over twenty thousand megawatts but only has 530 megawatts of production in place. One problem is a new form of NIMBY: Not near my hot spring. According to Hiroshi Suzuki in Bloomberg, One of Japan's opportunities to tap cleaner, cheaper energy and reduce dependence on imported oil has run into a problem: millions of naked bathers.

aomori onsen japan photo

Koganezaki hot springs, Aomori

"Geothermal energy is abundant in our volcanic country and can produce power with less greenhouse gas emissions,'' said Nobuyoshi Soma, chairman of the Japan Mining Industry Association, which wants government help to develop geothermal plants.

But the hot springs served 137 million bathers at 7,700 spas and the spa owners are concerned that the geothermal plants will ruin the hot springs by taking all the hot water. "Bathing in a hot spring is one type of medical treatment from the old ages,'' said Joji Noda, the president of Ibusuki Phoenix Hotel, located at southern tip of Kyushu. "There is no safety net if a spa near a geothermal power plant dries up.'' ::Bloomberg

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Geothermal Energy: Renewables’ Poor Cousin
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