A tidal turbine built in Scotland is now producing electricity in Japan
The AR500 turbine is waiting to be installed in waters off the Japanese islands.
A tidal turbine built and tested in Scotland was installed in waters off a chain of Japanese islands. This is the latest example of the East Asian country studying the potential of marine forms of energy production.
In a statement on Monday, London-listed Simec Atlantis Energy said its pilot turbine generated 10 megawatt hours in the first 10 days of operation.
The AR500 turbine was assembled at a factory in Scotland before being shipped to Japan, where it was installed in waters off Naru Island, which is part of the larger Goto Island chain.
According to SAE, the overall project includes the leasing of tidal generation systems and the provision of offshore construction services for the Japanese company Kyuden Mirai Energy.
Graham Reid, CEO of SAE, described the installation as “a major milestone in the use of clean, renewable energy from tidal currents and we hope it will be the first of many tidal turbines installed in Japan”.
Monday’s news is the latest example of companies in Japan, an island nation with thousands of kilometers of coastline, turning to projects dealing with tidal and wave energy.
In January it was announced that the shipping giant Mitsui OSK Lines will be working with a company called Bombora Wave Power to develop potential project locations in Japan and the surrounding regions.
The collaboration between Tokyo-based MOL and Bombora focuses on finding possible locations for the latter’s mWave system as well as hybrid projects combining mWave and wind energy.
In simple terms, the technology developed by Bombora, which has offices in the UK and Australia, is based on the idea of using rubber membrane cells that are filled with air and attached to a structure submerged in water.
According to a video by the company describing how its system works, the “flexible rubber membrane design pumps air through a turbine to generate electricity” when waves run across the system.
The International Energy Agency describes marine technologies as “great potential,” but adds that additional policy support is needed for research, design and development to “enable the cost reductions that come with bringing larger commercial plants up and running”.
For its part, Japan wants renewables to account for 22% to 24% of its energy mix by 2030.
In October last year, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the country would aim for net greenhouse gas emissions of zero by 2050. By 2030, Japan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% compared to 2013.
However, work remains to be done to ensure that the country achieves its goals. In 2019, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy said the country was “largely dependent on fossil fuels” such as coal, oil and liquefied natural gas.