Japanese government approves Fukushima floating project trial

JAPAN: Japanese trading house Marubeni has had government approval to create a feasibility study for a floating wind farm off the Fukushima coast.

Marubeni is set to team up with Mitsubishi to develop a trial wind project, consisting of three turbines and a substation, by 2016.

The 'Fukushima Recovery Floating Wind Farm Pilot Project' will run in two phases. The first will involve the installation of a 2MW turbine and a substation, while the second will see two 7MW turbines added.

Other companies and institutions involved include: Tokyo University, Mitsui Shipbuilding, Hitachi, IHI Marine.

In September, Japan’s trade ministry said it was planning a ¥10-20 billion ($130-260 million) project to develop a floating turbine in the deep waters off the northern coast.

Marubeni's involvement was first reported last month. Last year, the company made its first offshore investment by taking a 49% stake in the UK's Gunfleet Sands project.

Japan hopes to develop a 1GW floating offshore project off its northern coast by 2020. The announcement follows the passing of a renewable-energy bill in the upper house of Japan's parliament.

There is sound reasoning behind Japan’s push for offshore wind. When the tsunami struck, the Kamisu near-shore wind farm on Japan's east coast withstood the magnitude-nine earthquake and contributed vital electricity in the aftermath of the disaster.

Kamisu is located 40 metres off Ibaraki prefecture and is comprised of seven 2MW Fuji Heavy Industries wind turbines.

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