Japan launches deepwater wind demo programme

Japan launches deepwater wind demonstration programme


Deeply affected by the consequences of the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster, Japan entered a serious review of its energy situation and has announced a series ambitious initiatives for renewable energy, with offshore wind in a prominent place.


Limited by population density, topography and nature protection zones, and with few shallow sea areas, deepwater wind is an obvious priority for the Japanese and floating solutions a logical consequence. The Japan Wind Power Association (http://jwpa.jp/) gives the technical potential for floating off-shore wind as 519 GW (vs. 94 GW on known types of fixed foundations).


Mobilising large Japanese corporations and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), an ambitious billion-dollar scale plan is in the process of launching, exactly one year after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The Japan Wind Energy Association (http://www.jwea.or.jp/) has called for, as a first step, a 10 GW “experimental development zone” for floating wind systems along the 300 km coastline from Chiba (east of Tokyo) north to the disaster-stricken Fukushima area. This would have excellent grid connection potential and could supply to the huge Tokyo metropolitan region already suffering power cuts. The first wind turbine, a Subaru 2 MW offshore design, will be installed in 2013, downwind on a four-leg semisubmersible just offshore Fukushima. A floating 66 kV substation nearby, billed as a world's first, will use a spar-type support. In the next years, until 2015, the programme aims to follow up by installing two of the new Mitsubishi 7 MW machines with hydraulic power transmission, probably on  Other deepwater sites as well as one in more shallow water may also be included in the 2013-16 demonstration programme


Hyperwind notes that the conditions for the Fukushima site; 100-150 m depth, 20-30 km offshore with typical 7 m/s winds and up to 10-15 m waves appear to be even more challenging than our planned installation site off the coast of Spain. From the limited information released, the three-leg semi foundations suggested for the 7 MW machines are reminiscent of full-scale version of our own design for the HiPRwind floater, currently being refined and on track for approval within the project team within the next few months.

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