Japan is embarking on a quest for clean energy. Off the coast of Fukushima, Japan, twelve miles out to sea, floats a giant wind turbine that will generate enough electricity to power 1,700 homes. Additionally, the goal of this offshore project is to generate over 1 gigawatt of electricity from 140 wind turbines by 2020.
This is incredibly substantial for Japan as it will generate a lot of revenue for the small nation, as well as make it an energy-rich company.
Japan is doing a lot and spending a lot of money to make sure this project comes to light. Even a few companies such as Hitachi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Shimizu and Marubeni are wanting to commercialize the project. This project will be very good for Japan. The country has miles of coastline, more than the United States. The majority of off-shore windmill sites are tethered to the sea floor, limiting their location to shallow waters. There is a continental shelf that makes it very difficult to tie to the seabed due to extreme depths. Therefore, floating stations are the best option here.
Though this is a big breakthrough for Japan, Paul J. Scalise, a research fellow at the Institute of Social Science, said it was far too early to place such big hopes on offshore wind power. Load factors, disruptions to sea lanes and fishing zones, and possible “not in my backyard” protests are all things to consider. Cost, cost-effectiveness, and technology are also issues to consider. The windmill farms in Japan are promising, but first requires research and planning.