Danish offshore wind champion Orsted and Japan’s largest power company, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holidings (TEPCO), have formed a joint venture to bid for the Choshi-city area in Japan’s first offshore wind tender.

The JV, in which TEPCO holds a 51% majority stake, will submit a joint bid for the round 1 auction once the Japanese government officially designates the Choshi-city offshore wind promotion area.

Orsted chief executive Henrik Poulsen had earlier said he expects the auction to take place in the second half of this year.

"I am pleased to see our close collaboration with TEPCO for more than one year has led to the successful establishment of the joint venture company for the Choshi Offshore Wind Project,” Poulsen said.

"This joint venture is not only a significant step in Orsted and TEPCO's efforts to deliver on Japan's ambitions for domestic renewable power generation, but also a landmark moment for Orsted's market entry in Japan and for our aspirations to help Japan become a leading offshore wind market in Asia Pacific."

Orsted and TEPCO early last year had already signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on offshore wind projects in Japan.

Orsted’s regional chief told Recharge after the MoU was signed that Choshi would be a fixed-bottom offshore wind project of “several hundred megawatts or more”, with local reports since suggesting it could be up to 1GW in scale.

The expected first round of large-scale Japanese auctions is eagerly awaited by the global offshore wind sector, which sees the nation as the next big new regional market to emerge after China and Taiwan.

TEPCO has high hopes the collaboration with Orsted will help it establish a new business area.

"In April this year, TEPCO will launch its renewable energy business arm, TEPCO Renewable Power, to make renewable energy a core generating source,” the utility’s representative executive officer, Tomoaki Kobayakawa, said.

“The partnership with Orsted and the establishment of Choshi Offshore Wind Farm K.K. will help drive business growth for the TEPCO group and TEPCO Renewable Power."

TEPCO was the company responsible for the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, and was nationalised a in the following year. The company is now trying to build 2-3GW of offshore wind capacity in Japan this decade.