The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan have identified areas where offshore wind development could take place
Renewables Consulting Group (RCG) Japan director Akio Hasegawa and RCG Asia Pacific managing director Gareth Lewis reported that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) have been working together to streamline the permitting process for offshore wind under the Electricity Business Act and the Port and Harbor Act.
As RCG reported earlier this year, and as reported by OWJ, Japan recently implemented legislation to introduce a national framework for offshore wind development in ‘general water’ areas (that is, outside ports and harbours). The ‘Act for the Promotion of Use of Marine Areas for Development of Marine Renewable Energy Generation Facilities’ was approved by the Japanese parliament on 30 November 2018.
Until then, a framework existed only for offshore wind development in ports and harbours, which only comprise 1.5% of Japan’s territorial waters, and are therefore unsuitable for large-scale offshore wind development. Hence the need for legislation to provide a framework for commercial-scale projects in areas further offshore.
RCG’s directors said the aim is to reduce the burden on businesses promoting offshore wind development and facilitate the implementation of projects.
Following a period of consultation and data gathering with prefectures earlier this year, on 30 July 2019 METI/MLIT announced 11 areas they believe are promising offshore wind areas that will now progress to the preparatory stages for designation as areas of future promotion.
The areas in question are: offshore Aomori in the Japan Sea (North), Aomori prefecture; offshore Aomori in Japan Sea (South), Aomori prefecture; Mutsu Bay, Aomori prefecture; off the town of Happou and city of Noshiro, Akita prefecture; Noshiro, Mitane and Oga, Akita prefecture; Katagami, Akita prefecture; Yurihonzyo (North and South), Akita prefecture; Murakami and Tainai, Niigata prefecture; Choshi, Chiba prefecture; Ejima Island, Saikai, Nagasaki prefecture; and Goto, Nagasaki prefecture.
RCG said four areas have been singled out where ‘councils’ will be formed by METI/MLIT and wind measurement and geological surveys will be conducted by the government immediately. These are Noshiro, Mitane and Oga, Akita prefecture; Yurihonzyo (North and South), Akita prefecture; Choushi, Chiba prefecture; and Goto, Nagasaki prefecture.
In the remaining areas issues need to be addressed to progress development, including co-ordination with stakeholders and agreements that need to be reached before wind measurement and geological surveys can be undertaken.
In a related development, companies have also begun surveys for potential windfarms in waters off Japan. Sumitomo Corporation and J-Power have initiated survey work around the Hirashima and Enoshima islands off the coast of Saikai City in Nagasaki prefecture, and said they see the waters off the coast of Sakai City as one of the most promising areas for offshore wind in the country.
Ideol in France and a leading generator of renewable energy in Japan have outlined an agreement to build a commercial-scale floating windfarm. The French floating foundation specialist is joining forces with Shizen Energy for a commercial-scale floating project off Kyushu.