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Nippon Steel Expects Geothermal Sales of $49 Million in 2015

A unit of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., Japan’s largest steelmaker, expects annual sales of 5 billion yen ($49 million) from its geothermal business as early as 2015.

Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering Co. plans to expand its business in Japan and in countries such as Indonesia, Ryuichi Kageyama, general manager for the geothermal power business, said at a briefing today. It also plans to enter plant operation, maintenance services and power retailing, he said.

The company doesn’t have a comparative figure for current geothermal sales as there has been little development in Japan over the past several years, he said. The country’s last commercial geothermal plant was built in 1999 on Hachijo island, about 287 kilometers (178 miles) south of Tokyo.

Nippon Steel & Sumikin, based in Tokyo, has supplied steam production equipment and pipelines for nine of the 17 geothermal stations currently running in Japan, including the Hachijo island plant, according to the company.

Japanese companies are renewing their interest in geothermal energy after the March 2011 nuclear crisis shut down reactors for safety checks and the introduction of an incentive program for clean energy encouraged investment.

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