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it is the technology with the best prospects to have a real impact on our carbon emissions, at a low economic cost, and with very real positive effects on overall employment, redevelopment of isolated areas, and security of supply.

This reminded me of a recent New York Times article, In Japan, Rural Economies Wane as Cities Thrive.

I imagined that earthquake-prone Japan would not be a very suitable place for large deployment of wind turbines, but it seems that there is some movement in that direction:

A nonprofit organization called Hokkaido Green Fund has spent the last few years building and running large-scale citizens' windmills, which have also been catching on in Europe. The NPO's first windmill, nicknamed "Hamakaze-chan," started operation in September 2001 in the town of Hamatonbestu, Hokkaido, a location buffeted by constant winds.

In subsequent years, the NPO has constructed and started operating five large-scale windmills in northern Japan with the cooperation of local civic groups. Among the locations are Ajigasawa Town in Aomori Prefecture and Ishikari City in Hokkaido.

In 2006, the NPO plans to build five windmills in four prefectures in the Tohoku region of northeast Japan and in the Kanto region, which encompasses the Tokyo metropolitan area. These include facilities in Asahi City in Chiba Prefecture, Kamisu City in Ibaraki Prefecture, and Akita City in Akita Prefecture.

Trends in Japan: Wind Power Takes Off

Northeastern Japan is indeed one of those areas in Japan which are quickly growing old and depopulated (result of Japan's extremely low birthrate plus perennial tendency of young people to move to major urban areas and never come back.)

Japan seriously needs redevelopment of isolated areas.  But could you go into more how wind energy would help contribute to this?

Eat maguro. Your grandchildren will never know what they missed.

by marco on Fri Dec 7th, 2007 at 08:15:09 PM EST
From a paper describing Japan's first offshore wind project in Setana, small (population 2800) fishing town of Setana in northern Japan:

Construction of the First Offshore Wind Turbines in Setana Port in Japan  (PDF) -- 9-12 Nov. 2004

This report describe the construction of the first offshore wind turbine in Setana Port in Japan.

Owing to closely study and good weather condition, JV constructor could finish WTG construction successfully.  Setana town is well-known as the town which has the first offshore WTG in Japan.

While, this project has only two WTG which has relatively small 600kW rated power (Vestas V47), this experience is very useful for other project in the future.

Summary is as follows.
(1) Careful site survey concerning fishing rights, boats, etc. and feasibility study is very important for realizing project.
(2) Close construction plan considered the site condition such as climate is important.
(3) Dolphin type foundation is practical with considering pile-driving vessel size limitation in Japan.
(4) SEP is useful for small WTG Erection because SEP is not influenced by wave.
(5) Construction schedule needs margin in case of bad weather or unforeseen matter.
(6) Submarine cable placing with Buoy is useful for short length in case of the site condition is allowable.

The authors with taht the First offshore WTG contribute to the growth of Setana town.  And we also expect to develop larger scale of offshore Wind farm in the future with brushing up Setana experience.

Also, on the same project:

Japan for Sustainability - Japan's First Offshore Wind Turbines (2003/07/15)

The town expects these offshore wind turbines to invigorate the region and improve the global environment by producing clean energy.

The wind power market in Japan is quite new compared to Europe, and in fact, it seems that concern about the stability of nuclear power where there are such frequent earthquakes is making wind-generated power more, not less attractive:

M'bishi Heavy Sees Japan Offshore Wind Power Drive (November 8, 2007)

Unlike Europe where several countries have 6-7 percent of their electricity supply generated from wind, the share in Japan is only 0.3 percent or less, Ueda said. <...>

Renewed safety concerns about the nuclear sector following an incident at TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, the world's biggest, when an earthquake struck in July have encouraged the power industry to look into non-nuclear renewable energy sources. <...>

Last year Mitsubishi Heavy took a 16 percent share in newly installed wind turbines of a total 429 megawatts in Japan, lagging behind Spain's Gamesa, General Electric Co and Enercon of Germany, according to Danish research company BTM Consult Aps. (US$1=114.49 Yen) <...>

Mitsubishi Heavy, Japan's biggest wind power turbine maker, has a strong presence in the United States. But unlike its European rivals, it lacks experience in the offshore field. Its business in Japan also lags behind global rivals.

"It will take a while in Japan, probably in 2010 or later," he said, referring to the offshore business here. "But we'd like to make preparation," he said in an interview with Reuters.

Japan has subsidised wind farm construction and set a target to boost wind power to 3 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2010, slightly more than double the capacity last year.



Eat maguro. Your grandchildren will never know what they missed.
by marco on Fri Dec 7th, 2007 at 08:47:10 PM EST
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