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Japan Readies First Large-Scale Offshore Wind Project

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By The Maritime Executive 02-04-2020 08:03:50

Japan's Marubeni Corp. has received financing for the nation's first large-scale commercial offshore wind power project to be established through it's Tokyo-based company Akita Offshore Wind Corp.

The company will set up 33 turbines at port facilities in Akita and Noshiro. They will have a total power output of 140MW, enough to power around 47,000 homes. Construction is expected to start this month, and the wind farm is expected to be operational by the end of 2022.

Noshiro Port will be the base port for operations and maintenance.

The power will be sold to Tohoku Electric Power over a term of 20 years. Also partnering in the development is Obayashi Corp., Tohoku Sustainable & Renewable Energy, Cosmo Eco Power, The Kansai Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric Power, The Akita Bank, Ohmori, Sawakigumi Corp., Kyowa Oil, Katokensetsu, Kanpu and Sankyo.

Other developments are underway in Japan. Last year, Japanese solar power company Shizen Energy signed an agreement with French offshore wind developer Ideol to collaborate on a full-size floating wind farm. 

Spanning 29,751 kilometers, Japan has the seventh longest coastline in the world, presenting an enormous opportunity for offshore wind, says the Carbon Trust in an Insight Paper. The water depth around the coast of Japan increases quickly, with typical depths of up to 200 meters found relatively close to shore (20-50 kilometers). Nevertheless, Japan has a large resource potential of around 61GW in relatively shallow waters below 50 meters.

The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster led to the temporary shutdown of the country’s 54 nuclear power plants. Since then there has been a push to move to renewable energy.