Japanese marine energy to learn from Orkney expertise

Orkney's European Marine Energy Centre is to advise on the creation of a similar venture in Japan
Orkney's European Marine Energy Centre is to advise on the creation of a similar venture in Japan
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Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is to lend its expertise to the development of a test facility in Japan.

EMEC will advise on the infrastructure needed to develop the test site, in Nagasaki Prefecture, including subsea cables and grid connections, as well as operational procedures and health and safety.

The follows EMEC becoming a member of the Nagasaki Marine Industry Cluster Promotion Association (NaMICPA) earlier this year, aimed at supporting the development of marine renewables in Japan and stimulating further collaboration between the two countries.

Commercial director Oliver Wragg said: “Having planned, developed and operated 18 real sea test berths of its own in Orkney, 14 of which are grid-connected, EMEC has overcome many obstacles, and has accumulated a great deal of learning about the dos and don’ts of marine energy test site development.

“We’re delighted to be working with the Wind Energy Institute of Tokyo to help them develop marine energy in Japan. Just as EMEC stimulated interest and investment for marine energy in the UK in 2003, a Japanese test centre has the potential to kick-start the sector in Japan. And that will benefit wave and tidal technologies currently in development as there will be a wider international market for them when they reach commercialisation.”

NaMICPA director Makoto Takahira said the creation of the Nagasaki Marine Energy Centre was “an important step” towards accelerating the development of ocean renewable energy in Japan.

He added: “We would like to learn from EMEC how to effectively manage the marine energy test centre and exchange information with supply chain companies in Orkney. We are keen to contribute to the development of ocean renewable energy not only in Japan but also in Asia on the basis of the relationship between Scotland and Nagasaki, which have unique and long history.”

EMEC has been building its ties with Japan since 2012, when it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ocean Energy Association of Japan to provide advice and support in the development of a Japan Marine Energy Centre.

Paul O’Brien, energy and low carbon technologies at Scottish Development International, said: “This is an excellent example of how Scotland can help accelerate the ocean energy market in Japan through EMEC sharing their experience and knowledge, garnered over the last 12 years, to help speed up the delivery of Nagasaki Prefecture’s own tidal energy test centre.”