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Mitsubishi and MOL Building Efforts in Offshore Wind Business

Japanese business offshore wind market growth
Photo courtesy of MHI

Published Feb 2, 2021 4:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

Japan’s leading companies are continuing to develop operations focused on the emerging offshore energy market. The efforts are in response to the government’s calls to make offshore wind power a key component of the country’s renewable energy strategy.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries became the latest to announce initiatives in the sector. MHI is seeking to expand its wind turbine business by launching a new joint venture with Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems. Known as MHI Vestas Japan, the new company which launched operations on February 1, will focus on the marketing of onshore and offshore wind turbines. It will be 70 percent owned by MHI and 30 percent by Vestas.  

With the establishment of the new joint venture, MHI and Vestas look to build on the technologies, experience, and trust established through the operations of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind. In addition to helping expand the use of onshore and offshore wind power, the new JV will integrate the technological capabilities and experience of its two parent partners, thereby accelerating global-scale initiatives toward decarbonization.

Citing data from the Wood Mackenzie Global Wind Power Market Outlook, MHI said that the global market for wind energy systems is expected to double over the next 10 years. Excluding China, they projected that Asia, which accounts for half of that demand, would have a cumulative mean growth rate of near 10 percent. 

The Japanese Government is calling for offshore wind energy to become a major source of power as the country pursues the use of renewable energies toward realizing a decarbonized society by 2050. On December 15, 2020, at a public-private council, with representatives from the private sector tasked with strengthening Japan's offshore wind power industry, the government and industry agreed on the targets for the offshore wind power industry. Japan will deploy offshore wind farms to produce 10 gigawatts by 2030, and between 30 and 45 gigawatts by 2040. 

MHI’s efforts to expand its position in the wind power sector followed similar efforts by shipping line Mitsui O.S.K. Detailing plans for a restructuring of its operations, MOL highlighted goals to establish businesses not limited to transportation and to strengthen investments in the offshore business. In April 2021, MOL will establish its new Wind Power Energy Business Division, specializing in offshore wind power and its related business. MOL set as one of its business goals expanding and accelerating activities in energy and offshore power.