Japan's SoftBank into offshore wind

Serial solar-backer SB Energy – the renewables development arm of Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank – is entering the offshore wind sector by investing in a 90MW project north of Tokyo.

A company spokesperson declined to comment on the “very preliminary” plan, beyond confirming reports that it will participate in the project with an undisclosed investment.

Developer Wind Power Energy will install turbines up to 1.6km from the coast near Kashima, Ibaraki prefecture.

Earlier this month, the Japanese government said it would provide ¥500m ($4.8m) in funding for the project, for which no schedule has been set out.

In late March, the authorities set a separate feed-in tariff (FIT) rate of ¥36/kWh for offshore wind projects, as part of efforts to spur development. The FIT for onshore wind farms is ¥22/kWh.

SB Energy has invested in a number of PV projects over the past year, including a 42.9MW solar array that went online in early February in Tottori prefecture, western Japan.

It announced its first wind project last June, with plans to invest in a 48MW onshore site in western Japan’s Shimane prefecture.