Toshiba in 7.5MW Japan offshore

Toshiba, industrial engineering giant Hitachi Zosen and Sumitomo Electric Industries plan to finish building a 7.5MW offshore wind farm in northern Japan’s Tohoku region by 2017.

Toshiba will supply three turbines for the project, to be built in the Sea of Japan off the coast of Tsugaru, Aomori prefecture.

Hitachi Zosen will construct the fixed foundations for the turbines, while Sumitomo Electric will supply power transmission cables.

The total cost of the wind farm remains undetermined, a Hitachi Zosen spokesperson told Recharge, confirming earlier Japanese-language media reports. The group is still negotiating with local fishermen and has yet to conduct an environmental assessment.

The companies plan to start selling electricity to regional utility Tohoku Electric Power by 2017.

Onshore and offshore wind projects currently enjoy the same feed-in tariff (FIT) rate of ¥23.1 yen per kWh ($0.232) over 20 years.

However, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) revealed earlier this month that it has formed a six-member panel to study the possibility of introducing a higher FIT for offshore wind farms to spur development.

In July, offshore engineering firm Kita-Nihon Kaiji Kogyo revealed a ¥30bn ($306.4m) plan to build an 80MW offshore wind farm, featuring 32 turbines, roughly 1km off the port of Mutsu-Ogawara, Aomori. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016, with operations to start in 2018.