Japan eyeing ten sites' offshore potential

Japanese authorities have revised their list of sites with the potential for offshore wind development.

Ten sites are currently listed as a candidate for promotion, or as a promising area - including Mutsu Bay off Aomori prefecture (Yamaguchi Yoshiakai/Wikimedia Commons)

The ministries of economy, trade and industry (METI) and land, infrastructure and transport (MLIT) and the Port Authority of Japan have published a new list of ten sites designated as ‘promotion candidate areas’ or ‘promising areas’, and upgraded four previously nominated sites to ‘official promotion areas’.

Preparatory work will be carried out at the ‘promotion candidate areas’ and ‘promising areas’, while wind resource assessments and geological surveys will be carried out for the more advanced ‘official promotion areas’.

The new list updates and amends a previous list, published in July 2019, with seven designated as ‘promotion candidate areas’ and four as ‘official promotion areas’. 

Authorities had also launched a tender for a 16.8-21MW floating project off the coast of Goto City in Nagasaki prefecture in June.

In total, 15 sites have now been chosen and are in various stages of development for auction.

With the exception of the Goto project, each site is expected to have a capacity of 300-350MW and most are expected to use fixed-bottom foundations. 

If all sites are brought forward and developed, they could support 4,216.8-4,921MW of offshore wind capacity.

First round of nominations (July 2019)Progress on first round (July 2020)Second round of nominations (July 2020)
'Promotion candidate
Japan Sea side North, AomoriGann-u & Minami-Shiribshi, Hokkaido (New)
Japan Sea side South, AomoriHiyama, Hokkaido (New)
Mutsu Bay, AomoriMutsu Bay, Aomori
Happou-cho & Noshiro, AkitaKisakata & Akita-city, Akita
Kisakata & Akita-city, AkitaYusa, Yamagata (New)
Murakami & Tainai, NiigataMurakami & Tainai, Niigata
Enoshima Saikai-city, Nagasaki
'Promising areas'Noshiro, AkitaJapan Sea side North, Aomori
Yurihonjo, AkitaJapan Sea side South, Aomori
Choshi, ChibaHappou-cho & Noshiro, Akita
Enoshima Saikai-city, Nagasaki
'Official promotion areas'Goto, Nagasaki (floating)Noshiro, Akita
Yurihonjo North, Akita
Yurihonjo South, Akita
Choshi, Chiba
Auction areasGoto, Nagasaki (floating)

Japanese authorities had previously nominated 11 sites in July 2019, with seven designated as ‘promotion candidate areas’ and four as ‘official promotion areas’. 

It has now revised this list - adding some new sites, and amending others by splitting them into two.

Local residents and fishing groups will be consulted on plans for the sites stripped of their  ‘promotion candidate area’ status. 

Goto will use floating foundations, while projects off Aomori and Akita prefectures may also use floating foundations due to water depths of more than 50 metres.

The Japanese Wind Power Association advised Windpower Monthly that it is very difficult to get an official nomination for a floating project because METI thinks the technology is currently too expensive for commercial use.