Japanese energy group JERA has linked with contracting and engineering specialist Shimizu for possible collaboration in offshore wind at home and abroad.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two pledges to “prepare for Japanese government-conducted public tenders related to the development of offshore wind power projects in Akita Prefecture and elsewhere in Japan”.

The partners also say they’ll “continue to search for suitable locations and evaluate technologies with the goal of further project development”.

JERA has quietly emerged as a player in the global offshore wind sector, with significant project stakes acquired in Taiwan and the UK.

JERA has previously said it regards the international participation as a way to prepare for a role in domestic Japanese offshore wind, which is set to be among the next wave of global markets to take off.

For its part, Shimizu made a splash in the sector last year when it revealed it is spending 50bn yen ($462m) to build a next-generation offshore wind installation vessel (WIV) that can handle turbines up to 12MW.

Japan’s parliament in 2019 passed legislation clearing the way for first offshore wind tenders to take place this year to underpin long-term development of the sector, while the government has set a 10GW wind target (onshore and offshore combined) for 2030.

The gathering momentum has sparked the interest of global turbine OEMs, including the half-Japanese-owned MHI Vestas, and international developers such as RWE and Northland Power.