Government wind venture halted
After successfully installing its first commercially based wind turbine, the Japanese government has been left in limbo in the bankruptcy proceedings of Germany's Tacke Windtechnik. A specially ordered 80 kW Tacke TW80 turbine was installed in late May along an emergency flood channel, which stems from the Barato River north of Sapporo City in Hokkaido. The channel gates open only when a flood is expected. Authorities had sought a wind turbine to power oxygen pumps to keep channel water from stagnating. They had no intentions of selling surplus power to the local utility, so looked for a wind turbine just large enough to meet the demand.
Tacke had been recommended by its Japanese distributor, Nippon Electric Industries, Tokyo, for its turbine reliability and low wind performance. Tacke, however, had stopped production of its TW80. After negotiating with Nippon Electric Industries, a TW80 was assembled in Tacke's factory in Salzbergen, Germany.
The turbine arrived in Japan at the end of March, but had to sit in Yokohama Harbour for two months due to severe winter weather at the site. It was finally installed at the end of May. A Tokyo steel manufacturer supplied a specially designed 30 metre tower, and an optical fibre link connected the turbine to the regional hydraulic control centre for monitoring.
Officials have reported the machine is running well. But they say the availability of spare parts for future servicing is uncertain after Tacke's bankruptcy in July (Windpower Monthly, August 1997). The litigation also forced the cancellation of a government order for a 300 kW turbine.