The wind farm that withstood the Japanese tsunami

JAPAN: Japanese near-shore wind turbines withstood this month's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami and helped compensate for power disappearing from the grid when nuclear reactors shut down, according to the country's wind industry.

The Kamisu wind farm on Japan's east coast withstood the tsunami
The Kamisu wind farm on Japan's east coast withstood the tsunami

The Kamisu near-shore wind farm is located 40 metres off Ibaraki prefecture on Japan's east coast, comprised of seven 2MW Fuji Heavy Industries wind turbines.

The wind farm did shut down after the tsunami from the magnitude-9, March 11 tremor engulfed a nearby sub-station. But the plant resumed normal operation on March 14, according to Japan Wind Energy Association international committee leader Yoshinori Ueda.

Shaking onshore near the turbines was 5-plus on Japan’s intensity scale, which has a maximum level of seven.

Though shaking and grid irregularities did cause wind turbines in quake-hit areas to automatically halt, they experienced no mechanical trouble and were soon back to supplying the grid, according to the Japan Wind Power Association.

Regional utility Tohoku Electric Power is said to have asked one wind developer to help fill a gap in power.

But according to Ueda, there were many complaints after European wind-turbine maintenance crew left Japan on fears of exposure to radiation from damaged reactors in Fukushima prefecture.

Ueda said that although one wind plant is within the 30-kilometre no-go zone around the reactors, technicians evacuated other sites as far away as 600 kilometres.

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