Thursday, 7th March 2013
In Business In Japan,
Japanese wind power industry set for boom
The utilisation of wind to generate power is a major priority for nations all over the world and it seems that the industry in Japan is set for a boom in the coming years.
Solar capacity has increased dramatically in the nation in the past 12 months and now energy experts are predicting a similar number of wind power installations to pop up in 2013.
Shinzo Abe's government has increased subsidies to businesses looking to get involved and expand their operations in Japan and Arthur Mitchell, senior counselor of White & Case LLP in Tokyo has told domestic and foreign investors that this area will boom in the next 12 months.
"Wind is going to be the next big story," he said, before adding: "They just don't want to do bad deals."
The nation's commitment to generating efficient energy was made clear on Monday (March 4th) when a huge wind turbine built in the Pacific Ocean began generating power.
The 126-meter-high turbine, with a 92-meter-diameter bladed wheel, is located off the coast of Choshi, Chiba Prefecture, and is capable of providing around 2,400 kilowatts, with the electricity being transmitted onshore through underwater cables.
Tokyo Electric Power Co and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization have been responsible for the project.
There are also plans for a second large turbine development off Kitakyushu on the southern island of Kyushu next month in a project with Electric Power Development Co, which is known as J-Power.
Despite the Chosi project coming online and further developments scheduled, some companies looking to get involved in sector have been hampered by difficulties in obtaining the land for turbine farms.
The most likely places for new wind power facilities would be national parks and offshore, both places that the government is looking to make it easier for large-scale construction, which would be needed if the industry is to continue growing in Japan.
The government introduced an incentive program for clean energy back in July 2012, but wind power has failed to take off, despite strong onshore support.
Mr Mitchell believes that investment in wind power will flow to the industry once more bankers understand the risks and how to structure loans for clean energy projects.
"Once the Japanese banks feel comfortable enough to finance, that’s when the mega market will take off," he said.
Written by Mark Smith