Utility Tohoku Electric Power (TEP) has joined developer Renova in laying plans to develop a 700MW offshore wind farm that’s among the largest planned off Japan.

Renova is leading development of the project off Yurihonjo City on Japan’s west coast, which it hopes to bring into service from 2024.

TEP, Japan's number-four power utility, said it will invest in development of the Oki project with a view to taking a possible stake if it advances to commercial operation.

The project is currently consulting with resident and carrying out environmental studies in Akita province.

After a slow start, Japan – which currently only has 65MW of installed offshore wind capacity – is looking to make up for lost time, with its parliament, the Diet, late last year passing the long-awaited Offshore Wind General Waters Act.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) offshore wind chief executive Andreas Nauen, told Recharge earlier this year that Japan is on a “very favourable” timeline for rapid growth.

Japan – which offers potential for both fixed and floating deployment – is regularly tipped as one of the most promising of Asia’s emerging wave of offshore wind markets, along with nations such as Vietnam and South Korea, as the region moves beyond early pacesetters China and Taiwan.

Research group Wood Mackenzie yesterday predicted “explosive” offshore wind growth in Asian markets over the next decade.