Japan

Japan

Marubeni forms offshore consortium

JAPAN: Marubeni Corporation has signed an agreement with a consortium of companies, including utilities, to carry out feasibility studies for its two proposed projects at Akita Port and Noshiro Port in Akita Prefecture, in the northern part of the major Japanese island.

Marubeni's two projects would be located in northwest of Japan's main island Honshu
Marubeni's two projects would be located in northwest of Japan's main island Honshu

The Akita Offshore Wind Farm Corporation, a special purpose company (SPC) formed by Marubeni in April 2016, comprises Japanese construction firm Obayashi Corporation, developer EcoPower, the Akita Bank, utilities Tohoku Sustainable & Renewable Energy, Chubu Electric Power and Kansai Electric Power, and seven other local partners.

In total, the projects will have an expected output of 145MW, using bottom-fixed turbines – instead of floating turbines, set to be more commonly required in Japan due its small coastal shelf.

The Noshiro Port site could generate 80MW, with the remaining 65MW coming from the Akita Port development.

If the feasibility study is successful, then the project will move to the construction and commercial stage, subject to approval from local groups and organisations.

Marubeni was selected as the developer of the projects in February 2015 following a public offering by the Akita Prefecture local government.

The Akita consortium includes electric power companies, which is a positive development, according to Yoshinori Ueda, of the Japan Wind Power Association.

Marubeni is also developing the Fukushima Forward floating wind project, on Japan's east coast.

Japanese shipbuilder Penta-Ocean construction announced last month it would build the country's first jack-up vessel capable of installing fixed-bottom offshore wind turbines. Delivery is expected in September 2018.

The use of self-elevating vessels has been restricted in Japan to date, but on 1 July, the government amended laws regarding use of port areas, and Penta-Ocean believes their introduction will make a significant contribution to the use and development of the seas.

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