Japanese government to decide offshore plan

JAPAN: The government will decide on a basic plan to promote offshore wind, including the location of designated construction zones.

Universal Foundation will assess whether its mono-bucket is feasible for Japan's offshore wind sector
Universal Foundation will assess whether its mono-bucket is feasible for Japan's offshore wind sector

A draft bill, light on specific details, for encouraging marine renewable energy was passed by the Japanese Cabinet this month.

The prime minister would be required to prepare a basic policy regarding offshore wind, and the government would launch a consultation on the plan, according to the bill.

After guidelines are drawn up, project operators could apply to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) for leases of up-to 30 years, according to the bill.

This 30-year "occupation" would include a project’s construction and decommissioning phases, as well as its time in operation, the Japanese Wind Power Association (JWPA) said.

The ministries would then select "the most appropriate plan", and successful bidders would apply for feed-in tariff certification.

The JWPA initially requested the government to draft a new law for offshore wind in December 2017.

Japan has just 44.7MW of offshore wind currently installed, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.

At a meeting of the governing Liberal Democratic Party in February, ministers argued that METI’s wind power target of 10GW by 2030 should be increased, the JWPA told Windpower Monthly.

But ministers did not force a change to the draft law, approved on 9 March, JWPA advised.


Four days after the Japanese Cabinet approved the draft bill, Fred Olsen-owned Universal Foundation said it was working with industrial engineers Hitachi Zosen to assess whether its mono-bucket technology could be used in Japanese waters.

The mono-bucket foundation incorporates a monopile, a suction bucket and a gravity base foundation.

By lowering the pressure in the cavity between the foundation and the seabed to generate water flow, resistance from the seabed is reduced, allowing the 15-metre-wide bucket to penetrate the seabed, Universal Foundation claimed.

It previously tested the technology at the Horns Rev 2 offshore project in Denmark, and is in line to be used at the Icebreaker site in Lake Erie, US.

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