Equinor has formed a consortium with Japanese utility Jera and renewables developer J-Power to submit bids in forthcoming auctions off the Akita prefecture on the island of Honshu.
The joint venture will evaluate sites off Noshiro City, Mitane Town, Oga City and Yurihonjo City ahead of a possible auction bid, the partners stated.
Japan is due to open its first major offshore wind auction "within months", according to Equinor.
Bids would be due within six months of the tender opening, with winners announced by the end of 2021, and wind farms possibly being commissioned beyond 2025, it added.
Japan’s government plans to hold offshore wind auctions in regions around the country, and earlier this year revised its list of potential sites for offshore wind development.
The updated list includes sites off Yurihonjo City and one off Akita City – which could support 700MW and 400MW of offshore wind capacity respectively. Both cities are in the Akita prefecture.
Equinor has stakes in nearly 750MW of operational offshore wind capacity and in a further 10GW in various stages of development, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.
The partnership with Jera and J-Power marks the Norwegian firm’s entry into the Japanese offshore wind market.
Jera is also planning to build an up-to 520MW offshore wind farm off Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido.
Meanwhile, J-Power has around 530MW of onshore wind capacity in Japan, making it the country’s second largest wind power producer. It also helped to develop the floating wind demonstration project off of Kitakyushu and will build the Hibikinada wind farm, having secured development rights at auction.
Equinor, Jera and J-Power join a long list of partnerships targeting the Japanese offshore wind market:
- German developer RWE Renewables and Japanese utility Kyuden Mirai Energy Company are targeting a site off Yurihonjo, in the north-west of Honshu;
- Sumitomo Corporation is leading a group of construction firms, renewable energy developers and oil and gas companies to develop projects off Japan, including a 480MW wind farm off Noshiro;
- Canadian renewable energy developer Northland Power is teaming with Japanese counterpart Shizen Energy to develop 600MW of offshore capacity off Chiba, in the south-east of Honshu;
- EDPR and Engie’s newly formed Ocean Winds JV has named Japan as one of its target markets, while Aker Solutions stated that it was monitoring the Japanese market ahead of a possibly entry when it spins off its offshore wind holdings;
- And Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners plan to develop projects off Hokkaido.