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Wind energy for Japan, as nuclear energy shuts down

Floating Windmills in Japan Help Wind Down Nuclear Power: Energy Bloomberg, By Chisaki Watanabe – Mar 29, 2012  Japan  is preparing to bolt turbines onto barges and build the world’s largest commercial power plant using floating windmills, tackling the engineering challenges of an unproven technology to cut its reliance on atomic energy.

Marubeni Corp. (8002)Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (7011) and Nippon Steel Corp. (5401)are among developers erecting a 16-megawatt pilot plant off the coast of Fukushima, site of the nuclear accident that pushed the government to pursue cleaner energy. The project may be expanded to 1,000 megawatts, the trade ministry said, bigger than any wind farm fixed to the seabed or on land……..

The turbines are mounted on a floating structure that allows them to generate electricity in water depths where bottom-mounted towers cannot be erected easily. The country aims to develop the floating offshore wind turbines  for commercialization by March 2017 .

The biggest challenge in erecting floating turbines offshore is ensuring the buoyancy mechanisms are stable, and getting fixed lines to the sea floor which can be extended to depths of 200 meters (656 feet).

A so-called feed-in tariff program due to start in July that guarantees above market rates for clean energy including solar, wind and geothermal could boost the development of wind energy, analysts say…..

Japan’s production of wind turbines and parts and maintenance services is forecast to grow from an estimated 300 billion yen ($3.6 billion) a year currently to 500 billion yen in 2030, according to the Japan Wind Power Association .

The industry group has set a wind-power installation target of 50,000 megawatts by March 2051, including 17,500 megawatts and 7,500 megawatts in floating and fixed offshore wind respectively. That compares with the 49,000 megawatts of nuclear power, which is being debated by government officials after the Fukushima meltdowns. JWPA estimates Japan’s potential for wind is 144,000 megawatts for onshore and 608,000 for offshore…..

The environment ministry plans to set up a 2-megawatt floating offshore turbine in Nagasaki in southwestern Japan by June 2013. The project is being developed by Toda Corp. (1860) andFuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (7270)

The Fukushima pilot project will have three floating turbines installed by March 2016 with plans to eventually expand the capacity to 1,000 megawatts in the region, according to the trade ministry. It has set aside 12.5 billion yen as the ceiling to fund the initial stages of the study.

The trade ministry  has also been steadily increasing funding for offshore wind research and development, mainly for fixed turbines, from 200 million yen in 2008 to 5.2 billion yen this year…..


March 30, 2012 - Posted by | Japan, renewable

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