Oguni Town – Japan

Geothermal Power Plant to be Built by All 30 Households, Toward the Realization of a Recycling-Oriented Economy

In the depopulated Waita area, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold local events (open burning, cleanups, Bon dances, festivals, etc.). Therefore, a limited liability company, Waitakai LLC, was established to potentially revitalize the community by conducting a geothermal power plant to generate geothermal energy as a local resource. However, some local residents were reluctant to engage in geothermal power generation, fearing that it would deplete their hot spring resources. The LLC, however, was determined to balance the revitalization of the local community and conservation of the hot spring resources by conducting geothermal power generation. Waitakai carefully explained that regular monitoring would be conducted to ensure that the resources would not be depleted and that the control of the geothermal power plant would be determined by the LLC, with parts of the profits would be earmarked for the benefit of the local community. The company was able to start the geothermal power generation business. All 30 households in the Waita area became officers of the Waitakai LLC, with a portion of the profits used to improve the community center and tourist attractions. Local volunteer females began making okowa and steamed buns using local ingredients at the community center. This has created a circular economy in the Waita area.

Keywords: geothermal energy; renewable energy; circular economy; community engagement

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