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Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Might Be Commercialized in Okinawa

2019/09/22 18:56
Sousuke Kudou, technical writer
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Okinawa Prefecture's facilities for testing ocean thermal energy conversion in Kumejima Island (source: Okinawa Prefecture)

Kumejima-cho (town/island in Okinawa Prefecture) is making efforts to expand the introduction of renewable energy in the aim of realizing an energy self-sufficiency rate of 100% because its power grid is not connected to the grid of the main island of Okinawa.

This time, the town called for proposals from the public for the "Project for Formulating Plan to Commercialize Solar Power Generation Facilities and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Facilities."

The project is aimed at (1) predicting the transition of population and future population of the town, (2) collecting and organizing materials required for formulating a plan to commercialize solar power generation (PV) and ocean thermal energy conversion and (3) considering solutions to issues related to grid connection and business feasibility.

For solar power generation, the town will conduct researches on the installability of PV facilities in public facilities in the island and installable capacity. Also, as for ocean thermal energy conversion, the town expects to introduce 1MW-class facilities.

The project period is from the following day of the conclusion of the contract to February 10, 2020. The upper limit of the consignment fee is ¥6,941,000 (approx US$64,555, including consumption tax and local consumption tax).

The town closed the acceptance of declarations to participate in the project Sept 13, 2019, and applicants need to submit documents until September 24, 2019. After conducting a presentation-based screening Sept 30, 2019, it will choose a business operator for the project Oct 1, 2019.

Ocean thermal energy conversion generates electricity by using the temperature difference between ocean surface water and ocean deep water at a water depth of 600-1,000m (about 20°C). In Kumejima Island, Saga University's 100kW-class test facilities were installed and connected to the power grid of The Okinawa Electric Power Company Inc for Okinawa Prefecture's verification project.