OPT develops Japan wave-power station

Ocean Power Technologies has signed an exclusive agreement with Idemitsu Kosan, Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding and Japan Wind Development to develop a wave-power station in Japan.


Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has signed an exclusive agreement with Idemitsu Kosan, Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding and Japan Wind Development to develop a wave-power station in Japan.



OPT said that the power station is expected to provide the groundwork for a larger commercial-scale wave-power plant with a capacity of 10MW or more. The total output from the wave-power station would be sold to electric utilities and could provide power for up to 3,000 households in Japan.



The initial phase of the contract will see OPT work with the Japanese consortium to identify ideal sites for the demonstration power station based on commercial potential. The companies will then work with OPT to build up to three of its PowerBuoys  ocean-going buoys that capture and convert wave energy into electricity for the demonstration plant.



Under the agreement, OPT will sell the equipment for the power station to the consortium. The consortium will provide manufacturing and maintenance for any subsequent power stations, while OPT will provide its PowerBuoy technology under license and sell certain subsystems of the plant to the consortium.



Dr George Taylor, executive chairman at OPT, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with three of Japan’s leading companies in forging a new way forward for wave energy in Japan. As one of the world’s largest economies, with a dense urban population and a coastline almost as long as Canada, Japan plays a significant regional role in promoting technical innovation and clean energy. We look forward to working with this group to make an important contribution to achieving Japan’s targeted reductions in carbon emissions.’



The contract is the first for OPT in Japan and is in line with its global strategy to form partnerships with key growth markets. In addition to Japan, OPT has power-generation project in the US, the UK, Spain and Australia.



Akira Kurosaki of the Business Development and Innovation Headquarters of Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding, said: ‘OPT’s in-ocean experience and technical strength make it a strong partner. Wave power is a very concentrated and predictable source of renewable energy that has great potential for Japan. We believe that OPT’s PowerBuoy technology will be an important part of our common vision of reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels.’



Yukio Hatoyama, Japan’s recently elected prime minister, has pledged a 25 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. The country is also setting up financial reward schemes and a ‘feed-in’ tariff for renewable energy production to help reach this target.


Following the agreement, OPT has been invited to become a member of the Tokyo Wave Power Initiative  a scheme designed to promote the use of new energy sources in the country.