Japan aims to increase wind capacity through offshore

JAPAN: Japan's government has revealed it is developing a plan to dramatically expand its offshore wind capacity.

Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama
Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama

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Political inertia and resistance from the corporate sector have prevented Japan's wind power sector from distinguishing itself among developed countries. According to the latest Windpower Monthly Windicator for the first quarter, Japan's total capacity is just over 2GW.

Now the Headquarters for Ocean Policy (HOP) is drafting a proposal to pursue offshore wind as a means of circumventing opposition to onshore development due to complaints about turbine noise. Japanese critics of wind also complain that wind farms harm natural landscapes.

Information about the plan remains sketchy. An official at HOP denies specific capacity targets have been decided, stressing that these depend on the outcome of broader government talks in June aimed at forging a strategy for economic growth.

But according to news services, the government targets the installation by 2020 of more than 2000 wind turbines offshore with combined capacity of at least 10GW. Besides reducing the country's carbon emissions, the reports say the government hopes the offshore endeavour will invigorate the shipping, steel and machinery sectors.

Policymakers hope to draft a scheme within a year and implement it by 2012, according to reports by the Iwate Nippo and the Kahoku Online Network news services.

In September last year Japan's centrist Democratic Party, led by Yukio Hatoyama, came to power on a platform that advocated mandatory purchases of renewable energy by utilities.

For more see the upcoming June issue of Windpower Monthly



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