Large-scale offshore wind farm begins operation

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Offshore wind turbines at Noshiro Port in Akita Prefecture on Thursday

AKITA — Commercial operation of Japan’s first large-scale offshore wind farm began at Noshiro Port in Akita Prefecture on Thursday.

Twenty fixed-bottom wind turbines with an output of 4,200 kilowatts each were put into operation. The height from the sea surface to the highest point of the blades is about 150 meters, which is equivalent to a 40-story building.

The project is operated by Akita Offshore Wind Corp. (AOW), a special-purpose company formed by 13 companies, including Marubeni Corp., major electric power companies and construction companies.

13 more wind turbines the company has erected at Akita Port will be put into operation as soon as trial operations and legally required inspections are completed.

The 33 total wind turbines at Noshiro and Akita ports will generate about 140,000 kilowatts, enough to power to some 130,000 households. The power generated by AOW will be sold to the Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s network for the next 20 years.

“We believe this is the beginning of a new era of offshore wind power in Japan,” AOW President Keiji Okagaki said. “By showing a successful example of offshore wind power, which is regarded as the trump card for renewable energy, we will produce significant momentum for the future.”