The municipality of Hisai in Mie prefecture is buying four 750 kW wind turbine from Dutch manufacturer Lagerwey. They are the largest wind turbines to be installed in Japan, topping the previous 500 kW record held by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. The turbines, together worth JPY 800 million, are slated for connection to the grid of Chubu Electric Power Co following installation at the end of 1998. City officials intend to advertise the wind turbines as a tourist attraction and use them for educating children about clean energy. However, the machines conflict with a Japanese regulation that requires free standing structures more than 60 metres in height to be painted with red and white stripes and be fitted with a warning light. Lagerwey's Japanese agent, Nippon Kokkan KK (NKK), plans to install a red and white striped dummy pole and warning light next to the two units, which are 75 metres high, instead of painting the turbines themselves. "I hope Japan will introduce a more flexible regulation in the future," says NKK's Yokiichi Shibamura. "I think we have more chance of selling these kinds of big wind turbine in the future because they are more cost effective." NKK also sold two Lagerwey turbines in December to Okinawa New Energy Development Co Inc as part of that company's wind turbine test program in Okinawa (story page 37).
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol