Japan’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI) announced it will invest as much as 20 billion yen ($260 million) in a project to build a pilot offshore wind project comprised of six, 2-megawatt (MW) floating wind turbines off the Fukushima coast, according to a Bloomberg News report. A feasibility study running through March 2016 will evaluate the project with an eye towards expanding capacity thereafter.
A MITI official told Bloomberg News that though floating wind power generation is “still in the developing stage…offshore wind power is going to be important.”
Some of Japan’s largest industrial and engineering companies, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, IHI Corp. and Mitsui Engineering are expected to take part in the project.
By 2020, Japan is planning to build as many as 80 floating wind turbines off the coast of Fukushima, the site of world’s worst nuclear power disaster since Chernobyl in 1983, according to a Japanese news report.
Offshore wind is growing fast, particularly in Germany, the first country in the world to announce that it will shutter all its nuclear power plants and substitute electrical power from renewable energy resources.
Germany is forecast to surpass the UK as the world’s leading producer of offshore wind power as early as 2015, according to a research by Enventi, it was reported Sept. 14.
The US has no offshore wind farms installed, though the Dept. of Energy announced it will invest $43 million over the next five years “to advance wind turbine research and development to speed technical innovations, lower costs, and shorten the timeline for deploying offshore wind energy systems.”