Tokyo construction co plans offshore wind farm

UK: Maeda Corporation, a Tokyo-based construction company, is develop a 20-turbine offshore wind farm in waters off Shimonoseki in southwest Japan by 2016.

The construction firm that built the new Tokyo international airport plans an offshore wind farm off Shimonoseki.

Maeda’s plan to install ten turbines in 2015, with a further ten the following year. It is investing Y25 billion ($2bn), and will aim to generate Y3.5 billion per year from electricity sales. The company has yet to decide on which turbine it will deploy. Maeda itself will be responsible for installing the turbine foundations.

News of Maeda’s offshore wind plans is a sign that renewable energy feed-in tariffs (Fit), introduced on 1 July, could drive growth in Japan’s offshore wind sector.

"The Fit decision played a role in our decision to go ahead with the project," said company spokesman, Kozo Domori. "Anything below the 23.1 yen ($0.30) price outlined in the FiT would have made it difficult to do so."

Floating technology will be required if Japan is to develop offshore wind projects in the deep waters that hug much of its coastline. The shallow waters off Shimonoseki are an exception.

Another indication of a growing appetite for offshore wind amongst Japan’s industrialists was last month’s announcement that a consortium led by Hitachi Zosen is considering investing  €1.2bn ($1.5bn) in a 300MW project, which could include both foundation-based and floating turbines.

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