Japan group plans 80MW offshore

Offshore engineering firm Kita-Nihon Kaiji Kogyo is leading a group of three companies planning to build the first offshore wind farm in Japan’s Aomori prefecture.

The 80MW project will cost ¥30bn ($306.4m), according to local media reports.

The plant will be situated about 1km off the port of Mutsu-Ogawara, near the town of Rokkasho, and will feature 32 turbines.

A Kita-Nihon Kaiji Kogyo spokesperson declined to reveal which manufacturer will supply the 2.5MW machines.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016, with operations to start in 2018. The electricity will be sold to regional utility Tohoku Electric Power under Japan’s feed-in tariff (FIT) system.

The FIT for offshore and onshore wind projects is currently set at ¥23.1 yen per kWh ($0.23) over 20 years.

In May, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) played down Japanese media reports stating that it had decided to introduce separate FIT rates for onshore and offshore wind installations.

Tokyo reduced the FIT for solar projects in April, following impressive growth in new PV installations. However, it left the wind FIT unchanged, as the onshore and offshore sectors have not been developing at the same pace.

Average wind speeds in the Rokkasho area are about 6.5 metres per second.

Eurus Energy, a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) and Toyota Group trading unit Toyota Tsusho, is currently building a 115MW onshore plant near Rokkasho for ¥49bn.