By Anders Lorenzen
Japan, which many people associate with nuclear energy, will soon have it’s first large-scale offshore wind farms.
Later this month, a consortium starts the construction of two offshore wind farms off Akita Port and Noshiro Port in Akita Prefecture. It is led by the Marubeni Corporation and will see the formation of Akita Offshore Wind Corporation, Japan’s first offshore wind company.
The consortium is lining up major deals with both domestic and foreign financial institutions to act as the joint mandated lead arrangers.
The two planned offshore wind farms will have a joint capacity of 140 megawatts (MW) and will consist of wind turbines installed on bottom-fixed foundations and onshore substations. The construction of the onshore substations and transmission lines is scheduled to start in February 2020, and the commercial operations are expected to start in 2022. The electricity will be sold to Tohoku Electric Power for a period of 20 years and the project is valued at YPY 100 billion (EUR 831 million).
So far most offshore wind installations have been built in Europe, but in the last few years, the US and several Asian countries have entered the market. Japan, it appears, now wants to join that list.
Japan’s energy policy has been in disarray following the Fukushima nuclear accident as the pressure on their nuclear power stations to be shut down has intensified. This has seen the country increasing its coal consumption and as a result, carbon emissions have gone up.
Japan does have some small offshore wind farms in operation, mainly serving as pilot and test projects, with the largest capacity to date being 14MW. The Akita Port and Noshiro Port offshore wind project will be Japan’s first large-scale offshore wind projects.