Japanese Shipping Giant Sails Into Floating Offshore Wind

Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), one of the largest ocean shipping companies in the world, and Scotland’s Flotation Energy plc. have agreed to jointly evaluate offshore wind development opportunities in Japan.

The agreement builds on the 2 GW portfolio of offshore floating wind projects in Japan being developed by Flotation Energy (Japan) Co. Ltd., starting from Niigata and followed by other areas.

MOL will jointly develop a local supply chain and Flotation Energy will manage overall project development, the companies said.

”The partnership with MOL is a very significant step for Flotation Energy as it builds its presence in Japan. We bring an innovative approach with fresh eyes in implementing offshore wind projects and look forward to working with MOL to deliver floating offshore wind in Japan,” Tim Sawyer, Director of international operations, Flotation Energy, said.

The partnership aims to develop and deliver offshore wind projects in Japan to support Japan’s 45 GW offshore wind target by 2040.

”U.K. and Japan have a lot of similar background, both are island country, limited energy resources, and U.K. is ahead of Japan on offshore wind farm development,” Hirofumi Kuwata, Managing Executive Officer, Deputy Director General, Energy and Offshore Business Unit, MOL, said.

”With Flotation Energy, who has vast experience in developing offshore windfarms in U.K and internationally, MOL believes that this collaboration would accelerate the floating offshore wind farm development in Japan market. MOL has a rich knowledge and experience in building, owning, operating and managing ships and offshore floating structures. Those will be a great help for development of offshore wind farms in Japan and Asian region.”

Flotation Energy has delivered some 3 GW of offshore wind in the UK, including the world’s largest operating floating offshore wind farm, the 50 MW Kincardine wind farm in Scotland. Flotation Energy is currently developing a 17 GW pipeline of projects around the world, including Japan, Taiwan, Australia, Ireland, and the UK.

More recently, Flotation Energy was successful in the latest UK Round 4 seabed auction for its 480 MW Morecambe fixed bottom offshore wind project, and has secured rights for a 100 MW floating wind demonstration project off southwest England.

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MOL operates a merchant fleet of shipping vessels including containerships, dry bulkers, crude oil tankers, LNG carriers, methanol carriers, chemical tankers, product tankers, car carriers, ferries, and RORO ships.

Earlier this year, MOL established a business division dedicated solely to offshore wind.

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In October, MOL signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kokusai Cable Ship for collaborative operations of cable-laying vessels for the offshore wind market.

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And in November, MOL and Ta Tong Marine launched the first-ever Taiwan-flagged service operations vessel (SOV), chartered by ├śrsted for its Greater Changhua offshore wind farms.

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Photo: Kincardine Floating Wind Farm/Cobra Group/Illustration