Typhoon delays Japan floater trial

Japan’s Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has been forced to delay the launch of a 2MW Hitachi floating offshore wind turbine off the coast of Nagasaki prefecture due to typhoons.

The ministry hoped to launch the turbine tomorrow (9 October) as part of one of several floating offshore trials underway in Japan.

The MOE has yet to set a new launch date but still plans to deploy the floating turbine by the end of this month near Kabashima Island in western Japan, a spokesperson tells Recharge.

Once launched, the turbine, which is mounted on a platform supplied by construction services provider Toda,  will be tested for at least 18 months as part of a five-year demonstration project.

The MOE says it has already spent more than ¥5bn ($51.5m) on the initiative.

Japan is particularly interested in the potential of floating turbine systems as its surrounding waters are deep with a steep seabed – making them unsuited to the more commonly used fixed foundations for offshore wind projects.

In June 2012, Japan installed its first floating turbine, a 100kW machine supplied by Fuji Heavy Industries, also off Kabashima, near the city of Goto.

The Kabashima project will be expanded after 2015, the ministry said.

This summer conglomerate Marubeni and the University of Tokyo led a group of 10 companies to install a 2MW Hitachi turbine off the coast of Fukushima prefecture in Japan's northeast.

That falls under a separate floating offshore initiative for which Japan’s  Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is providing ¥22bn in funding support.