It is almost two years since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown in 2011, and after all but reducing its dependence on nuclear power (only two out of 54 reactors are still online), Japan has declared its intention to focus on renewable energy by building the biggest offshore wind farm in the world.
The wind farm will consist of 143 wind turbines located off Fukushima’s coast. Scheduled to be completed by 2020, it would generate 1 GW of energy. This is part of a project to make Fukushima totally renewable-energy-dependent by 2040; emphasized by further plans to build the largest solar power field in the country.
The wind farm would be the largest in the world as the current largest in the Greater Gabbard farm in the UK generates 504 MW from 140 turbines, and the soon-to-be-complete London Array’s 175 turbines would only generate 630 MW.
The first phase of the construction would be building a 2 MW turbine, an undersea cable installation and a substation. Standing about 200 meters in height, additional wind turbines may be added when funds become available. The turbines will be anchored to the sea bed using buoyant steel frames stabilized with ballast and anchored with mooring lines.
University of Tokyo’s Takeshi Ishihara, the project manager, dismissed the effect of seismic activity on the turbines since computer simulations and other tests have been carried out to ensure that the turbines are safe even when earthquakes, tsunamis or typhoons occur. There were also concerns on the impact on the fishing industry, but Ishihara allayed any fears here also, saying that the structures would actually attract fish.
Once finished and fully functional, the wind farm would supply electric power to the Fukushima grid that was initially being supplied by the tow nuclear plants.