Written By: Natalie Baer
Japan switched on its first turbine to harness wind power 20 kilometers (12 miles) off the coast of Fukushima -the site of the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster.
Yesterday, a new wind farm, led by Marubeni Corp. and situated near the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, was switched on to help restore energy to a region infamously damaged by multiple nuclear meltdowns and extreme weather events which occurred in 2011.
The first 2-megawatt (MW) turbine, planned to become part of a 143-turbine wind farm, will collectively produce one gigawatt (GW) of energy. The first turbine, produced by Hitachi Ltd. at a dock near Tokyo, nicknamed “Fukushima Mirai”, was towed, installed and switched on 12 miles off the coast of Fukushima. On full completion, the wind farm will be anchored to the 120-meter deep seabed by six huge chains.
Set to install the next two turbines is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, whose turbines will generate 7MW of energy each.
According to Newser, Japan has the capacity to produce 1,600GW of wind power, most of it offshore. Already a dozen of these projects are in the works, ranging from Kyushu in the south to Hokkaido in the north.
With the majority of Japan’s coast ringed by deep waters, the country is currently pioneering a floating wind turbine construction for seabed depths greater than 50 meters (165 feet). The technology involves attaching turbines to structures that float in areas too deep for traditional towers fixed to the seabed.
As the nation increases its demand for clean energy, the Fukushima project follows in the wake of a new venture between Macquarie Capital, one of Japan’s leading providers of investment and funds management services, and Tokyo-based firm Maeda Corporation. That venture will initially focus on building a large-scale solar power plant in Japan, before focusing on development of 300 MW of additional clean energy by 2016.