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Marubeni to conduct geothermal power research in national park

Kyodo

Marubeni Corp. is planning the first on-site survey for a geothermal power project in a national park following deregulation last March by the Environment Ministry.

The one-year research initiative, starting possibly in May, will use dedicated surveyors to confirm geothermal sources in Daisetsuzan National Park in Kamikawa, Hokkaido.

The plan was approved Tuesday by a municipal committee comprising local officials and hot springs resort operators.

Efforts to diversify energy sources have been gaining steam since the Fukushima nuclear crisis that started in March 2011.

In a related move Tuesday, Chubu Electric Power Co. said it will start its first overseas solar power generation project in Thailand as part of efforts to expand profit by entering emerging foreign markets.

Chubu Electric said it has acquired a 49 percent stake in Gunkul Powergen Co., the operator of six solar power plants in Thailand, and will sell electricity generated there to local power companies.

The Thai firm runs two plants at present and plans to start operations at the four others, now under construction, later this year. The combined output capacity of the six will come to 30,000 kw, Chubu Electric said.