Japan’s first large-scale offshore wind farm just came online

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Japan’s first large-scale offshore wind farm started operation on December 22 – a major milestone in the country’s transition to renewables. Japan already operates several demonstration offshore wind turbines, but this is its first commercial offshore wind farm.

The 140 megawatt (MW) project consists of two offshore wind farms – Noshiro and Akita. Noshiro Port offshore wind farm is around 300 miles northwest of Tokyo in the Sea of Japan, in Akita Prefecture. It’s the Noshiro Port part of the project that just came online. The Akita Port offshore wind farm’s “commercial operation based on FIT is expected in due course.” Noshiro and Akita together have 33 fixed-bottom Vestas wind turbines that were installed by UK offshore installation firm Seajacks International. Noshiro features 20 4.2 MW wind turbines, and Akita has 13 4.2 MW wind turbines.  The offshore wind project will provide electricity to Tohoku Electric Power, which has a 20-year power purchase agreement for the wind farm’s entire output. It will power around 150,000 households. Tohoku Electric Power services 7.6 million individual and corporate customers in six prefectures in Tohoku region, plus the Niigata Prefecture, in Honshu.

The Akita Offshore Wind Corporation owns the project. Tokyo-based investment firm Marubeni is the largest investor in Noshiro and Akita, and many other Japanese companies are invested, including utilities and banks. Japan aims to install up to 10 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, and up to 45 GW by 2040. Currently, 25% of Japan’s electricity comes from renewables. It has a plan to bump that percentage up to 38% by 2030. At the end of May, for the first time and joining the other six member states of G7, Japan pledged to end public financing for fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of 2022.