The largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Japan is set for construction, and supervision of the process has been handed to Mott MacDonald. The Kuni-Umi solar PV plant is to be located in the town of Setouchi in the Oshima District of Japan.
This is not Mott MacDonald’s first phase of involvement with the project. Previously, the global development and engineering consultancy acted as owner’s engineer as the project made its way through the early development phases. During this time, they provided a number of essential services to aid the progress of the project. They drafted test procedures for the plant, provided a performance assessment, provided advice on procurement processes and gave support with negotiating contracts.
Now, the Kuni-Umi solar PV plant project has reached financial close and is set to move on to the construction phase, which Mott MacDonald will oversee and supervise. In this phase, they will provide supervision for work on electrical, structural and civil components of the project as well as matters related to instrumentation. They will also review designs for the plant in detail, considering them against codes and practices on both the local and international levels.
The actual construction of the huge solar plant will be undertaken by the Shimizu Corporation and the Toyo Engineering Corporation. The construction project has a total value of US$1.1 billion (GB£677 million), and will result in the largest solar power generation facility in Japan.
The construction of the 230MW plant forms part of a wider plan for the Japanese power industry. The country is hoping to significantly diversify its capabilities for electricity generation, and the addition of a major new facility for creating usable electricity from solar energy will form a major part of that.
The plant will include a new 110kv transmission line, located underground and spanning a distance of 16km (just under 10 miles). This line will cross a number of major rivers as well as running through a residential area. The plant will supply electricity for sale to the Chugoku Electric Power Company for a period of 20 years.
According to Mott MacDonald project director Philip Napier-Moore, “In Japan, Mott MacDonald is working with international investors on 23 solar plants totalling 720MW of power. We’re seeing a trend of increasing scale, of which this project represents the current culmination.”
Napier-Moore went on to praise the environmental benefits of such a large-scale solar power project compared to other methods of electricity generation such as the combustion of fossil fuels. “If the same output were to be met using coal-fired generation,” Napier-Moore points out, “5.4MT of CO2 would be emitted. The Kuni-Umi plant will be zero carbon in generation over its 20-year design life.”
The plant is expected to be completed and operational by Spring 2019.