Renewable energy quest to tap ocean-based sources

Kyodo

The government will pursue development of ocean-based renewable energy sources, including offshore wind power, amid concerns over electricity shortages now that all of the nation’s nuclear plants have gone offline, officials said Friday.

Candidate sites for demonstration experiments in marine areas will be sought for that purpose from local governments and venues picked by the end of the fiscal year through March 2014.

With Japan seeking to develop nonnuclear energy sources as quickly as possible in light of the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant crisis and growing public opposition to nuclear power, the government aims to tap the ocean’s massive energy potential.

“For our country, which is a maritime nation surrounded in all four directions by the sea, the development of maritime resources is an important challenge,” Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told a meeting on ocean policy.

The decision to promote the use of maritime renewable energy could be “a cornerstone of a new energy society,” he added.

Japan controls about 4.47 million sq. km of territorial water and exclusive economic zones.

Tides, waves and temperature differences under the sea can be harnessed for power generation, in addition to winds, the officials said.