Scottish expertise critical to Japan's energy future

Scottish marine renewables companies gaining traction in Nagasaki.

A leading Scottish environmental services firm has been awarded a consultancy contract to support a major tidal energy project in Japan, External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop confirmed today.

Aquatera based in Orkney, will conduct an environmental impact assessment for underwater turbines as part of Nagasaki’s proposed tidal test site.

The contract was confirmed by Mr Toshiyuki Sakai, Head of the Nagasaki Marine Industry Cluster Promotion Association, as he met Ms Hyslop during a visit to Scotland House – a co-location space for Scottish and Japanese marine renewables companies.

Ms Hyslop said:

“Scotland shares a bright future with Japan with regard to renewable energy. I opened Scotland House when I was last here in 2015, and since then, at least seven Scottish companies have been hosted there to share their expertise. This says much about Japan’s esteem for our knowledge in this area.

“Scotland boasts flagship projects in this sector and we have a lot to offer countries like Japan – we are home to the world’s leading wave and tidal test centre, the world’s largest planned tidal stream array and the world’s largest tidal turbine.

“There is, naturally, a strong desire by our Japanese counterparts to learn from our expertise and develop their own marine renewables and subsea technologies, and Scottish institutions have been happy to host students from Nagasaki University to see our world-renowned facilities and engage in training.

“We already have historical, cultural and educational ties with the Nagasaki prefecture, and our work together on marine renewables will ensure this relationship continues to flourish.”

Mr Sakai said:

“Nagasaki is now in the process of setting up its marine renewable energy industry. Our Industry has a lot to learn from Scottish companies who are leaders in this field. Through collaboration and the exchange of people and information between Nagasaki and Scotland we want to work hard together for mutual success”.

Ms Hyslop met with representatives from the Japan Trade Development Organisation (JETRO) and the Nagasaki Marine Industry Cluster Promotion Association, both who have been instrumental in arranging the reciprocal visits.

Gareth Davies, Managing Director of Aquatera said:

“Aquatera are delighted to be supporting the Nagasaki Cluster and the wider project team in this exciting work. We’re particularly pleased to be working alongside our long-term Japanese collaborator Shibuya Diving and long-term technology collaborators Open Hydro. 

“We hope that the work we jointly undertake will help establish best practice for this pioneering tidal test site and for many future projects across a variety of sites and technologies. We believe tidal energy can be an important energy provider, particularly in island situations, such as here in the amazing Goto islands.”


World-renowned Scottish facilities include:

  • The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) – the world’s only accredited testing facility for wave and tidal energy prototypes. To date, more marine energy devices have been tested at EMEC than at any other single site in the world. EMEC has 14 full-scale test berths (six wave and eight tidal) and two scale sites for testing smaller scale prototypes in less challenging real-sea conditions.
  • The FlowWave ocean energy research facility at the University of Edinburgh is the world’s most sophisticated ocean simulator. The circular test tank combines multidirectional wave simulation with fast tidal flows and enables the testing of device designs at model scale.

The visit to Scotland House took place as part of a programme of activity delivered by Scottish Development International (SDI) and the Scottish Government.

Ms Hyslop’s programme of engagements runs from 13 to 17 February in both Tokyo and Nagasaki.

On Monday night, Ms Hyslop held a Business Reception at the British Embassy to promote Scotland as an ideal location for further Japanese investment.

On Tuesday, Ms Hyslop announced Scotland Day will be hosted by Toshima Ward, a cultural hotspot of Tokyo, with a promise venues for Scottish performers on an ongoing basis.

On Wednesday, Ms Hyslop announced that the value of Scottish food and drink exports to Japan has surged to almost £100 million in 2015.

More will be announced throughout the week.


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