Japan Deploys Floating Wind Farm to Fukushima

Created: 2013-07-12 16:53 EST

Category: World > Asia Pacific

Japan moved parts of a massive floating wind farm towards waters off the coast of Fukushima on Friday (July 12), two years after a massive disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The first 2 megawatt wind turbine which is 30-stories high in size left Tokyo late last month followed by the massive floating substation.

Power generation is due to start in October and will become the largest floating wind farm in Japan.

Two more 7 megawatt turbines are to join these either next year or in 2015 and will eventually be capable of generating 16 megawatts of power.

The government hopes the wind farm will create employment to help Fukushima and the surrounding region recover after its massive earthquake, tsunami and a nuclear meltdown in 2011.

[Keisuke Murakami, Chief of New and Renewable Energy; Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry]:
"First and foremost, we want to make this a symbol of Fukushima's recovery. Secondly, this floating wind farm concept is the ace up our sleeve for the next stage of renewable energy development."

Japan plans to create the new industry from ground up and and is hopeful the positive effects will spur businesses in other fields and that they will be able to profit from exporting technology.

[Keisuke Murakami, Chief of New and Renewable Energy; Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry]:
"Wind farms consist of over twenty-thousand different parts, and the wind farm industry requires total engineering on par with the automobile industry. We view this as a strategic field where applications to other industries will spread."

But not everyone is optimistic.

[Akihiko Imakata, Engineer with Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Corporation]:
"Up to now, we have been beaten badly by Korean and Chinese rivals, and I can’t deny already foreseeing the same thing happening in the future."

Less than one-percent of Japan's energy production came from wind power in fiscal 2009, according to a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry report published in 2012.