Given Japan’s strong commitment in the field of renewable energy (photovoltaics, fuel from biomass , etc.), it may seem surprising that it is still not equipped with marine wind farms, particularly since many European countries have or are planning to install a capacity of several thousand megawatts. The country also have very small terrestrial parks, each consisting of ten turbines at most, scattered over the territory.
Paradoxically, one of the obstacles to the development of wind energy in Japan is the wind. The archipelago is regularly swept by typhoons whose power can damage the turbines. The frequent earthquakes, and the significant risks of tsunami waves, but also the presence of steep seabed along the coasts make wind turbines at sea even more difficult. Yet the quality of wind, stronger and more regular in sea and on land, provides better energy efficiencies. Furthermore, offshore wind turbines can not monopolize the space that is lacking in Japan. This means so much to catch up the industry by developing economically viable systems that can withstand severe weather conditions.
In 2009, the New Energy Development and Industrial Technology Organization (NEDO) has launched a project to finance the construction of systems to study the winds at sea. Tepco in collaboration with the University of Tokyo had built a buoy tower to collect data on weather conditions. The company will install a wind turbine near the tower.
The wind turbine is 130 m high and the diameter of the blades is 90 m. It will rest on the seabed 11 meters below the sea level having power of 2 MW. It will be grounded by an underwater electrical cable. The tests will last until March 2014. The operational budget is approximately 3.5 billion yen (30 million euro), two-thirds of funds from NEDO, the remaining third of Tepco.