Japan’s ambitions to expand wind power generated at sea received a boost on Thursday with the commercial operation of Japan’s first sizable offshore wind farm. The facility in the sea of Japan, next to Noshiro Port in the Akita prefecture, roughly 500 kilometers north of Tokyo, has been officially opened, according to trading giant Marubeni, the project’s largest shareholder.
The farm’s 20 turbines are each about 150 meters tall from sea level to the top of their about 60-meter-long blades. At the same prefecture, Akita Offshore Wind is getting ready to start up a second plant with 13 turbines in Akita Port. (www.losaltosresort.com) The combined output of the two sites is anticipated to be around 140,000 kilowatts, or about 130,000 households’ worth of electricity. Tohoku Electric Power, a local utility, will purchase electricity from these locations for 20 years.
In addition to Marubeni, investors in the special-purpose company Akita Offshore Wind include the engineering firm Obayashi, Tohoku Electric, and Cosmo Eco Power, a division of Cosmo Energy Holdings. Japan anticipates offshore wind to play a big part in the country’s transition to renewable energy under an energy strategy negotiated last year. The nation has set a target of producing 10 million kW from offshore wind by 2030 through a public-private council.