Eavor’s technology and potential in Japan have been gaining momentum in capturing the attention of Japanese newspapers and media outlets.
Recently, an article from Japanese online publication Energy Frontline interviewed Representative of Eavor Japan James Heatherington, and discussed the viability of Eavor’s technology in a country that has “high potential for geothermal power generation and high expectations for development using this technology.”
Additionally, major Japanese newspaper Chunichi Shimbun features both the EUIF investment into Eavor’s Geretsried project and Chubu Electric Power Co. major investment in Eavor Technologies.
The article comments: “The geothermal startup company that Chubu Electric Power has invested in has been granted 91.6 million Euro from the EUIF for its first commercial project in Germany, for which Chubu Electric Power has acknowledged the importance of. Electric production is expected to start in the latter half of 2024. This is a new type of renewable energy with high expectations.”
Chubu Electric Power is one of the largest energy companies in Japan, providing power to some of the largest metropolitan areas on Honshu island. Since Chubu’s investment, Eavor has been receiving increased attention from Japanese media outlets about its technological prospects.
“The fact that a Japanese corporation has invested into Eavor Technologies means that people that are local, that are known and trusted, that grew up in this society, have looked at Eavor, have believed and understood the technology and know that it’s a part of the solution to our energy issues, is very significant,” said Heatherington.
“The investment is the foundation of a successful partnership and happened because they believed in our people. It wasn’t just our vision, it wasn’t just our technology, they believed in our people.”
This foundation and investment led to having Mr. Yuta Kano, General Manager at Global Business Division at Chubu Electric Power join Eavor’s Board of Directors in October 2022.
“Yuta saw our technology, he thought it was interesting, and when he met our people, he came to really believe in us and understand how we can move forward with Chubu, and with other organizations to make a difference in the world.”
In relation to an article written for NewsPicks, editor and New York Bureau Chief Jun Morikawa commented that John Redfern, Eavor’s CEO, a visionary and veteran of the energy industry, was a very interesting person “…made me feel a mysterious power, one I had never felt before.”
According to Heatherington, the conversation about Eavor and geothermal energy in Japan has potential to grow exponentially; however, to propel these relations to a new level, communication with the onsen industry and local communities is important.
“Onsen [hot springs] are a very old, very well-established, and very conservative industry. Some of the oldest onsen hotels are over a thousand years old, and conventional geothermal targets the same resources that these onsens are using. Therefore, there’s always this fear from the locals that any kind of geothermal development will be potentially disruptive to their business. It takes time to get their acceptance of our new technology, which will absolutely not interfere with their resources.” said Heatherington.
According to The Japan Times, onsen business owners and locals alike have also become fearful that geothermal power plants could potentially disrupt business. However, there are hopes that recent projects, like Tsuchiyu Onsen’s geothermal plant, can change minds.
The article also states that due to Japan’s geological activity, the country has an estimated 23 gigawatts in reserve, the equivalent of around 20 nuclear reactors. This potential is greatly enticing given the “country’s dependency on imported fuels, especially after the 2011 nuclear disaster forced the shuttering of nuclear reactors.”
Local energy autonomy can be made reality when implementing geothermal technologies, especially Eavor-Loops.™ The closed-loop system bypasses the need to access permeable rock and hot aquifers, which means that there is minimal risk that operations will disturb the onsen industry. The Eavor-Loops™ differ from conventional geothermal because it uses conduction to retrieve heat from the earth’s subsurface, providing reliable baseload energy in almost any terrain.
To give better chances for this clean, reliable, and sustainable energy to gain momentum, building trust and establishing common understanding between geothermal companies and local communities are crucial.
“It’s always important to understand that you have to work with the locals, local communities, and stakeholders to get things going. A tremendous amount of engagement is necessary.” Heatherington added.