Japan explores offshore wind power technology to diversify energy mix

Japan is expected to commence operations at two new offshore wind farms in the country with the objective of diversifying its energy mix.

The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) collaborated with Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) to install a 2.4MW turbine off the coast of Choshi in Chiba prefecture.

While a 2MW turbine is also planned for installation in March 2013, in collaboration Electric Power Development (J-Power), off Kitakyushu on the southern island of Kyushu, reported Bloomberg.

The partnerships serve to develop wind turbine technology and provide an alternative to nuclear power in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster of 2011.

NEDO director Masaharu Itoh was quoted as saying by the news agency that turbine installed in partnership with Tepco was part of a research project.

Itoh noted that onshore turbines are a proven technology in the country and therefore would be challenging for offshore developers to cut through; however, data derived from the two turbines will help manufacturers overcome technological barriers.

“As for offshore, we still have a chance” to grab market share with large-sized turbines being developed in Japan,” said Itoh.

Construction of the two projects, including a turbine and observation tower, is estimated to cost nearly $53.4m each and will be Japan’s first turbines built 1km off the coast.