Setouchi

Mott MacDonald to manage construction of $1.1bn Japanese mega-solar plant

30 September 2014 | By Joe Quirke

Mott MacDonald is to supervise the construction of Japan’s largest photovoltaic plant, the $1.1bn Kuni-Umi facility near the city of Setouchi, in the southern prefecture of Okayama. 

The UK consultant acted as the client’s engineer during the development phase of the project, which has now reached financial close. Construction will be undertaken by Toyo Engineering and the Shimizu Corporation. 

The 230MW plant fits in with Japan’s broader strategy to diversify its power generation capabilities. Kuni-Umi will sell electricity for a 20-year period to the Chugoku Electric Power Company by way of a 110kV, 16km underground transmission line that will travel through a residential area and cross several major rivers. 

During the development phase of the project, Mott MacDonald assessed plant performance and drafted plant test procedures, supported contract negotiations and advised on procurement.  

The company will now supervise civil, electrical, structural and instrumentation system implementation work and review detailed plant designs against local codes and international practice for solar PV projects. 

Philip Napier-Moore, Mott MacDonald’s project director, said: “In Japan, we’re 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 culmination. 

“If the same output were to be met using coal-fired generation, 5.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide would be emitted. The Kuni-Umi plant will be zero carbon in generation over its 20-year design life.” 

The plant is due to become operational by spring 2019.

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