Japan-based insurer Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. has launched an insurance policy that aims to cover hot spring resort operators from the impact of the development of geothermal power stations.
There are concerns among operators that building geothermal power plants close to hot springs could alter the quality and composition of the spring water, which is said to contain a high amount of organic matter that may provide health and beauty benefits.
“Developers of geothermal power projects can now buy an insurance policy that covers the expense for surveys to determine if their projects are the cause of changes in the quality and volume of hot water,” Takeharu Kikuchi, a spokesman for the Tokyo-based company told Bloomberg.
Previously, hot spring operators had to pay for surveys to determine whether the nearby geothermal power plant would affect their business. Such surveys can cost from US$47,000 to US$282.000.
The spread of geothermal power in Japan has been quite slow, despite high geothermal activity in the country, as evidenced by its numerous volcanoes and hot springs. An incentive program for clean energy introduced in 2012 did little to speed up the adoption of geothermal energy.
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