Japan is mulling a series of sweeping offshore wind initiatives that promise to speed up project timelines, facilitate local co-ordination and guarantee grid access
Renewables Consulting Group (RCG) reported that on 17 February 2021, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) held a joint conference discussing potential measures to accelerate projects and improve the business environment for offshore wind under the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Act.
RCG Tokyo office director Akio Hasegawa said, “By accelerating the development of projects, the government aims to achieve targets set out in the first phase of its vision for the offshore wind industry in December of last year. Several measures were outlined that will help facilitate local co-ordination and secure grid capacity.
“The proposals represent a policy shift for Japan,” Mr Hasegawa said, “and should help to ease some of the challenges in the market.”
In December 2020, Japan unveiled the first phase of its vision for offshore wind, declaring a target of 10 GW by 2030 and 30-45 GW by 2040.
Based on the requests of the private sector, the government is considering the option of extending and renewing the period of occupation, for up to a maximum of 30 years, while keeping an eye on trends in technological development.
Mr Hasegawa said concern has been expressed by the private sector regarding the occupation permit, suggesting that a project can only be operated for approximately 20 years in reality, taking into account the period of development and decommissioning, and that if the period can be extended by 10-15 years, it will lead to a reductions in costs.
A wind measurement campaign will take about six months to prepare and about a year to carry out. At the moment, after promising areas for offshore wind power are selected, preliminary preparations for a survey – which include wind measurement and site inspection – can begin. In future, however, preliminary preparations will likely start before the selection of a promising area, taking into account local conditions, so that the wind measurement can be carried out immediately after the selection of an area.
The country is also seeking to adopt a Japanese-style offshore wind allocation model to minimise the duplication of early development costs. In Japan, business associations have requested this reform in an effort to reduce the risk for business operators.