The Japanese Wind Energy Association's annual two days wind symposium in November attracted almost 300 delegates. Over 40 speakers talked about case stories and technical research studies. One of the major topics of the seminar was the introduction in Japan of a national mandate for utilities to source 1.1% of their total electricity supply from renewables by 2010, facilitated by trade in green power credits; power companies unable to meet their mandates can buy credits from companies exceeding the requirement. The wind sector has been highly critical of the details of the proposed regulatory framework for the renewables portfolio standard. Meantime, Japan's 350 MW of wind capacity is expected to reach 600-700 MW this year. Another hot topic at the seminar was how to find good sites for wind farms.
A new GE Wind 1.5 MW wind turbine at Ajigasawa, Aomori Prefecture, is due online soon. The turbine is owned by Green Energy Aomori (GEA), a local non-government organisation which took out a bank loan to finance the project. The group has now launched a campaign to gain further financial support for the project from its members. Electricity from the turbine will be sold to local utility Tohoku Electric Power Co. It is the second turbine bought by a local citizen group in Japan. Last year a Bonus 1 MW wind turbine, owned by Hokkaido Green Fund, started to produce energy in Hokkaido.