Ideol targets commercial-scale Japanese floater

French foundation specialist Ideol and Japanese renewable energy developer Shizen Energy plan to develop a commercial-scale floating wind farm off Kyushu, Japan's southernmost island.

Ideol's 'Damping Pool' platform supporting a two-bladed turbine in Kitakyushu port, Japan (pic credit: Japanese Wind Power Association)

The project partners signed an agreement in Tokyo, declaring their intention to collaborate on the Kyushu project, but also to consider expanding their partnership to other Japanese regions in the future.

Ideol will supply its ‘Damping Pool’ floating foundation — designed to encircle water inside a ring to moderate dynamic movements around the platform — while Shizen will provide expertise of Japanese project development.

An Ideol spokeswoman said it was too early to comment on the potential capacity of the Kyushu project, or when the project might be commissioned.

The French company’s floating platform has been deployed at demonstration projects in Japan and France.

Ideol and Shizen are not the only pairing of a French floating specialist and Japanese company targeting floating wind off the coast of Japan. Naval Energies and Hitachi Zosen Corporation are also collaborating on floating wind development at an unspecified site in Japanese waters.

However, their desire to use floating platforms differs to E.on and Japanese renewables developer Kyuden Mirai’s approach to offshore wind development off Kyushu.

E.on and Kyuden Mirai plan to develop offshore wind farms off Kyushu using fixed-bottom foundations.

"Working on floating wind projects in Japan means to expand the country’s potential of renewable energy significantly, as the country is surrounded by sea areas with deep water and complex geographies," said Masaya Hasegawa, director of Shizen Energy.

Meanwhile, French floating specialist Naval Energies has also agreed to work with Japanese industrial engineers Hitachi Zosen to develop "several hundred megawatts" of floating wind in Japanese waters.

The project partners have not confirmed a capacity target, intended location or project schedule.

However, they have stated they will use Naval Energies’ semi-submersible floating platform, which consists of four cylindrical steel drums connected to a ballasted base, which is anchored to the seabed by six mooring lines.

The French company’s platform is also due to be deployed at Eolfi’s 24MW Île de Groix wind farm off the west coast of Brittany, France.

Japan has just 65MW of offshore wind capacity currently installed, according to Windpower Intelligence.

In December 2018, Japan’s parliament approved a bill enabling development rights for offshore wind zones to be auctioned.

The ministry of economy, trade and industry is currently preparing the regulatory details for the auction, the Japanese Wind Power Association told Windpower Monthly.