Japan's offshore wind power industry has received a strong boost, following enactment of a new law for popularizing wind power, effective this year, according to which prospective investors can take part in open biddings for setup of offshore wind farms in designated areas.
Following gradual saturation of the European market, offshore wind power developers have set sights on the Asian market, especially countries with geographic conditions for the new energy by taking advantage of steady strong oceanic wind.
Taiwan has been at the forefront for offshore wind power in the region, as the government has targeted installing 5.5 GW offshore wind power facilities by 2025.
In Japan, offshore wind power has been catching on gradually in recent years, as development craze for PV power has subsided, following gradual reduction of government subsidies, which, along with fixed-rate scheme, has facilitated the development of the green energy since 2012.
Japan began to step up the effort for pushing offshore wind power in mid-2018, passing a plan in July which aims to install 10 GW offshore wind power facilities by 2030, enacting the aforementioned legislation in Nov., which allows developers to set up offshore wind farms in designated areas via open-bidding mechanism, with a 30-year franchise, and forming a new unit for regulating the emerging industry.
Japan is scheduled to hold the first international biddings for wind power projects off the coasts of Aomori Prefecture and Nagasaki Prefecture in the first half of 2019, according to Wood Mackenzie, an energy market information body.
A number of developers have expressed strong interest in the Japanese market, including Ørsted of Denmark, which signed a memorandum of cooperation with TEPCO in mid-Jan. for Choshi wind power project off the coast of Chiba Prefecture.
Japanese financial firm ORIX, TEPCO, and E.ON of Germany have also joined hands in developing a wind farm off the coast of Chiba Prefecture, which will contain 20 wind turbines with total capacity of 200 MW, sufficient to meet the power needs of 170,000 families. ORIX will provide 100 billion yen (NT$27.7 billion) to fund the project. Furnished with ultra-large turbines with capacity reaching 10 MWeach , the wind farm is schedule for inauguration in 2025.
Meanwhile, Japanese firms have been developing indigenous offshore wind power technology, such as Marubeni which took over U.K. offshore wind power equipment firm Seajacks in 2012.
MHI Vesta Offshore, a joint venture set up in 2013 of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and a Danish wind turbine supplier, has developed an ultra-large 10 MW wind turbine.
Wood Mackenzie predicts that Japan's offshore wind power capacities will top 4 GW by 2028, making it one of the most important offshore markets in Asia.
(Collaborative media: TechNews, first photo courtesy of Pixabay)