The key issues in the plans will be securing and preparing areas for conducting large-scale testing, negotiations with fishermen’s representatives and other stakeholders, ways to cut costs and the legislation needed for enabling the use of the sea for power generation.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Environment and others have earmarked a total of 10B yen for promoting marine renewable energies in the fiscal 2012 budget. Most of the funds were secured for projects related to floating wind turbines.

In fiscal 2013, the scope of these efforts will be expanded into technologies that tap a variety of marine energies, such as exploitation of differences in temperature between the sea’s surface and the seabed, as well as tidal and wave energy.

Tests will be carried out probably in the waters of the Tohoku and Kyushu regions, in co-operation with private-sector businesses such as heavy machinery makers and shipbuilders, as well as universities. Costs will be a main focus of the trials to ensure that the resulting technologies are commercially viable.