Japan switched on its second experimental commercial floating turbine off the coast of Fukushima, earlier this week. The two-megawatt Hitachi turbine, which was unveiled in June this year, was switched on by Kazuyoshi Akaba, state minister of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and Fukushima governor Yuhei Sato.
The consortium of eleven companies led by Marubeni and including the University of Tokyo, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Mitsui & Co., Furukawa Electric and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal are planning to add two further 7-megawatt floating offshore turbines at the same location by summer-autumn 2014.
The first floating turbine was launched at the end of October by Nobuteru Ishihara, Japan’s Minister of Environment (MOE) of the city of Goto in the Nagasaki prefecture. The minister said that the launch marked a “new era in the use of renewable energy”, and that Japan aimed to commercialise floating offshore wind as quickly as possible.
Additionally, developers and local governments have announced new commercial offshore wind projects recently.
Both Japan’s floating offshore wind sites, at Goto/Kabashima and Fukushima, use Hitachi's downwind two-megawatt turbines. The downwind type has some advantages such as :
- the rotor phase goes vertical straight when floating WTG leans by wind force;
- WTG's direction follows the wind automatically by weathercock effect.
The floating offshore turbines in Japan are considered as “ships”, and are therefore nicknamed by the Japanese government. The Goto/Kabashima's floating turbine is named "Haen-kaze", "はえんかぜ" which means Southern Wind in Kyusyu (Kagoshima dialect). The Fukushima's WTG is called "Fukushima-Mirai", "ふくしま未来", meaning future in Japanese. The Fukushima's floating substation is named "Fukushima-Kizuna", "ふくしま絆". "Kizuna" meaning a "bond" or a "relationship" in Japanese so the future and bond are the symbolic key words for Fukushima's revival from the past disaster.
For more information:
- Floating offshore WTG at Fukushima - 5 October 2013 (Video by Yomiuri news)
- Floating offshore wind turbine at Goto islands - 31 October 2013 (Video clip by Nagasaki TV)
洋上風力発電も視察 海洋エネルギーシンポジウム .長崎放送
- GOTO FOWT PJ Official website
- Fukushima FORWARD project official website:
Picture taken at the Goto/Kabashima on 30 October 2013 ©Yoshinori Ueda JWPA/JWEA.