This research focused on the expanding geothermal power generation project on Hachijo Island, Japan. Placing importance on local residents’ viewpoints, this research aims to 1) clarify why residents are anxious about expanding geothermal power generation and 2) record experiences of odor emitted by the geothermal power plant. Interviews were conducted with 60 local residents and project stakeholders.
Interview results show 1) residents’ recognition of the odor is diverse, 2) most residents expressed expectations about the project’s positive effects on the local economy and tourism, and 3) a small number of local residents felt that the odor caused health problems and that the problem has not yet been solved. The main reasons for passive attitudes were assumed to be that residents suspect that the new geothermal power plant might cause a worse odor problem and that responsibility for dealing with it might be shirked. The geothermal power project has achieved innovative practices and has been praised. However, understanding the odor’s effects on residents’ daily lives before starting and sustaining the new plant is necessary.