Japan 'needs offshore wind acceleration'

JAPAN: The offshore wind industry in Japan needs to accelerate its research, development and deployment efforts if the country is to have a secure energy future, a report from the Carbon Trust has found.

Japan is already working on floating platforms including the 7MW Fukushima project
Japan is already working on floating platforms including the 7MW Fukushima project

Greater investment is needed to deal with what the Carbon Trust describes as "Japan's unique and challenging offshore conditions". The report lays out the challenges faced by the industry and suggests solutions either based on existing European experience or novel local methodologies.

Spending on innovative solutions needs to be increased to bring down the cost of offshore deployment, it finds. This could include floating platforms or new foundations designed specifically for Japanese seabed conditions.

There is also a need for a greater number of vessels suited to offshore wind deployment. The report suggests this need can be met through the import of suitable vessels from Europe. It also proposes using alternative deployment methods such as the assembly of floating turbines onshore to be towed into position.

It has suggested the use of floating Lidar could offer benefits, due to the difficulties of gathering meteorological data from met masts in the deep waters around Japan.

Regulatory changes are needed as well, the report states, including the streamlining of environmental impact assessment processes to reduce length of time before projects are given the go ahead.

Al-Karim Govindji, senior manager at the Carbon Trust said: "Japanese manufactures are leading the way in developing bespoke solutions needed to cope with Japan's challenging environmental conditions; however our analysis shows that experience from Europe on developing the right technologies and regulatory market conditions to foster an industry with enormous potential could deliver results quicker."

The Carbon Trust is UK-government-funded global organisation aimed at encouraging the move to low carbon economies.

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