Japan Expands Offshore Wind Development into Exclusive Economic Zone

The Japanese Government has passed an amendment to the Act on Promoting the Utilization of Sea Areas”, expanding the area for setting up offshore wind to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The Japanese government aims to deploy 10 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and 30-45 GW by 2040, including floating wind, as part of its target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The new legislation would allow wind farms to be installed further out to sea from current territorial and internal waters, according to a joint statement by the government, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

According to the “Act on Promoting the Utilization of Sea Areas”, a successful bidder can occupy sea areas within Japan’s territorial waters for up to 30 years.

Currently, bottom-fixed offshore wind turbines dominate the installation areas, while deepwater floating turbines are the mainstream in the EEZ, said EnergyOMNI.

Companies seeking EEZ applications will have to go through two stages of approval. The industry ministry will select the installation area, considering factors like wind conditions, water depth, and proximity to territorial waters. Temporary approval will be initially provided to applicants.

In the second stage, official approval will be granted after consultation with relevant parties, including fishermen and stakeholders, the government said.

The Japan Wind Power Association (JWPA) estimates that the spatial potential for offshore wind power in the EEZ will be about 3.5 times that of onshore wind.

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Japan currently has six operational offshore wind farms, with two of them being large-scale, the 84 MW Noshiro Port and the 54.6 MW Akita Port projects.

Akita Port was put into commercial operation in January 2023 while Noshiro Port has been in commercial operation since December 2022.

On 19 January, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism launched the tender for an offshore wind site in the Sea of ​​Japan, off the coast of Aomori Prefecture, and a site off the coast of the town of Yuza in Yamagata Prefecture.

The tender is open until 19 July and the developers of the two project sites will be selected by December this year.


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