German electricity generation company RWE AG’s [RWE:GR] subsidiary RWE Renewables and Kansai Electric Power [9503:JP] formed a partnership to study the possibility of a large-size floating offshore wind project on Japan’s coasts on August 23, according to CNBC on August 24. The collaboration was based on a new plan draft targeting 38% renewable energy by 2030 published by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in July. Renewables’ Sven Utermöhlen stated that the company chose Japan to develop floating wind farms for the country’s deeper coastal waters.
Japan is the first country to try floating wind farms around the world. The world’s first floating wind turbine was operational on the eastern Japan prefecture of Fukushima in 2011. The total capacity of the related project reached 14 megawatts (MW), costing USD560m. However, seven years after the installment, the government decided to abandon the projects for a series of glitches and dismantle the three turbines in the coming years. Though the first project ended up with failure, the Japanese government emphasized the meaning of the project for providing essential data to improve future offshore wind farms.
The number of large projects on floating wind farms is increasing in Japan in recent years. For instance, floating technology provider BW Ideol [9BN:FR] would unit Japan’s largest oil refiner and distributor ENEOS Corporation to develop a commercial floating offshore wind farm in Japan by using the former’s patented Damping Pool technology. Due to the deep coastal water, the potential of floating offshore wind turbines will be three times greater than that of fixed bottom offshore wind, lowering the cost of renewables. Similarly, Japan’s industry ministry selected six Japanese companies to build a 16.8MW floating offshore wind farm in Nagasaki this June. The six companies, including Toda Corporation [1860:JP], ENEOS Corporation, Osaka Gas [9532:JP], Inpex [1605:JP], Kansai Electric Power, and Chubu Electric Power [9502:JP].