SSE Renewables moves to enter Japanese offshore wind market

Joint venture with local developer Pacifico Energy paves way to participation in country’s offshore wind auctions

SSE has extensive experience of developing offshore projects in its UK home market (pic: chpv.co.uk/Seajacks/RWE/SSE)
SSE has extensive experience of developing offshore projects in its UK home market (pic: chpv.co.uk/Seajacks/RWE/SSE)

SSE Renewables has signed an agreement with Japanese renewable energy developer Pacifico Energy to create a joint venture that will pursue offshore wind projects in Japan.

The move is intended to support the expansion and diversification of SSE Renewables’ longer-term growth pipeline, the company said.

As part of the agreement, UK-based SSE Renewables will acquire an 80% interest in an offshore wind development platform from Pacifico Energy. 

The new entity combines “the significant local preparatory development work undertaken by the experienced Pacifico Energy team with SSE’s expertise in developing, constructing and operating offshore wind farms”, SSE said.

The joint venture’s 10GW portfolio of early-stage development opportunities in Japanese waters includes advanced projects, two of which have secured grid access and engaged with local stakeholders. The aim is for these to enter bid rounds in offshore wind auctions by the mid-2020s.

Scotland-headquartered SSE Renewables has a pipeline of 7GW of offshore wind in the UK and Ireland. Over the past 12 months, it has been actively looking for growth opportunities in Spain, Portugal, Denmark and Poland. Its entry into the Japanese marks a significant first move outside of Europe. 

SSE Renewables follows a number of major developers, such as RWE Renewables, wpd, Ørsted, Equinor and Iberdrola, in joining forces with local companies to gain a foothold in the Japanese offshore wind market.

Jim Smith, managing director of SSE Renewables, said: “Today is an exciting next step for SSE Renewables as we enter Japan which has huge ambitions for offshore wind deployment... We want to help realise Japan’s renewables ambitions and be a significant part of their offshore wind plans during the decades ahead.”

Japan aims to install 10GW of offshore wind by 2030, and up to 45GW by 2040 as the country aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. 

The targets are backed by a commitment to run regular offshore wind auctions for support. In June, a consortium led by Toda Corporation was selected to build a 16.8MW floating project off Goto City, Nagasaki in south-western Japan.

Japan is also holding two further offshore wind auctions — one in Akita, on the island of Honshu, and one in Chiba, near Tokyo. Results are due later in the year, according to the Japanese Wind Power Association (JWPA).

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