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Japan Starts to Invest in Tsunami-Proof, Floating Wind Farms

Following the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 causing one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters since Chernobyl at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI) announced its plans to develop more floating offshore wind farms.

The floating Kamisu wind farm just off the coast of the Ibaraki prefecture comprises of just seven 2 megawatt wind turbines, but was able to withstand the tsunami and provided vital electricity in the wake of the disaster.

Using as much as ¥20 billion ($260 million) from the reconstruction budget, created to help redevelop the damaged areas after the devastating tsunami, MITI will work with some of Japan’s largest construction companies such as, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nippon Steel Corp, IHI Corp, and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, to develop a pilot floating wind farm off the coast of Fukushima. The project will commence in March with just six 2 megawatt turbines, but with plans to run a continuous study of evaluation through to 2016 and the option to further expand the capacity of the farm to as many as 80 turbines (1 gigawatt of power) by 2020.

Power sources that can survive the earthquakes and tsunamis that plague Japan will obviously prove very important to maintaining a constant supply of electricity to the country. A MITI official told Bloomberg News that though floating wind power generation is “still in the developing stage…offshore wind power is going to be important.”

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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