Tomen skirts utility wind farm ban with 3 MW projects

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Japanese trading company and energy developer Tomen Corp plans to build two 3 MW wind farms on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. By keeping output to 2.9 MW, Tomen can circumvent the local utility's ban on wind farms larger than 3 MW up to March 2002 (Windpower Monthly, November 1999). Each project will consist of three 1 MW turbines from Danish Bonus, expected to start producing electricity in November. They will be located in Hamatonbetsu at the Sea of Okhotsk and in Tobetsu at the Sea of Japan. Under a 17 year contact with Hokkaido Electric Power Co, Tomen will sell its electricity at JPY 11.6/kWh ($0.107/kWh). Tomen says it would like to build more small wind farms, but the Hokkaido utility says it will stop buying wind generated electricity when the total reaches 150 MW, or 3% of Hokkaido's maximum power demand. This limit is expected to be reached by early next year with completion of several large projects. Tomen started producing electricity on its 20 MW wind farm on Hokkaido in December and it is working on a 32.5 MW project in Aomori prefecture. The energy developer hopes to boost its maximum domestic output of electricity from wind power generators to 200 MW by 2005.

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