Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Orsted to work together on offshore wind projects
TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa said their first joint project would be a feasibility study off the coast of the city of Choshi to the east of Japan’s capital Tokyo, an area they consider “a promising spot”. “We will study development of offshore wind projects both at home and overseas, as we aim for a broad-range strategic partnership,” Kobayakawa told reporters on Friday.
TECPO has been operating a 2.4MW demonstration wind generator about 3.1km off the coast of Choshi in the Chiba Prefecture since 2013. The utility had already started the research since November last year to gauge ocean floor structure in the open sea zone, as it aims to transform the demonstration experiment to a commercial wind power project.
The company expects the latest tie-up with Orsted will lead to successful launch of the commercial project in Choshi city.
The utility has been stepping-up its efforts to launch renewable energy capacity of up to 7GW. Of the total, it aims to bring its domestic offshore wind power capacity to 2GW-3GW in future, the detailed plan of which is scheduled to come out in March 2019.
The move is the latest among Japanese companies to join hands with overseas companies with a track record of wind power projects. In September, Japanese independent power producer J-Power agreed to team up with France’s Engie to develop floating type wind power projects in Japan.
Japan is lagging behind Europe and other countries in launching offshore wind power projects. But expectation is high that the category has huge potential for growth as the Japanese Parliament unanimously passed the open sea zone bill in November last year, which will be essential in promoting offshore wind power projects in the country.