It is already seven years since the offshore earthquake lead to Japan suffering from a tsunami and a nuclear disaster. Japan now has a world-leading floating offshore wind demonstration programme and its government has announced a process to lease capacity further from shore than the two existing leasing arrangements. But when will commercial projects be installed?
As part of our agenda to support the globalisation of offshore wind, we continue to deepen our insight into a range of next-up markets, especially US and in the Far East. In Japan, we collaborate with Annette Bossler (http://www.maine-intl-consulting.com), who has lived in Japan for years and is fluent in Japanese language and has a deep understanding of Japanese culture.
Since 2011, the Japanese Government has been working to establish a national transmission grid, to unbundle transmission and distribution, and create full retail competition. It has also been gradually bringing some of its nuclear capacity back on-line after safety checks, to the concern of some local governments. This is supplementing the much increased use of fossil fuels to keep the lights on after the catastrophe, with renewables playing a small but growing part in the electricity mix.
There is still a way to go before commercial offshore wind capacity is installed in volume outside of selected harbours and coastal regions. The Government has given no clear timetable yet. In its announcement on 9 March, it advised establishment of five offshore wind zones by 2030 – hardly exciting news to the ear of any keen project developer. Grid capacity also needs more work, as regional electricity producing companies address tensions between keeping capacity open for nuclear plant that may never re-start, minimising CAPEX in tough times for the sector and investing in a sustainable electricity system taking benefit of cheap renewables.
If you would like help establishing winning strategies, engaging offshore wind players and navigating culture in Japan or elsewhere in the world, please get in touch.