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Hitachi Zosen, Statoil partner up on floating offshore wind technology

by Chisaki Watanabe

Bloomberg

Industrial machinery maker Hitachi Zosen Corp. wants to use its partnership with Statoil ASA to bring technology for floating offshore wind turbines to the Japanese market more quickly.

Hitachi Zosen in November signed a technical cooperation accord with Statoil, Norway’s oil and gas producer. Statoil’s Hywind project features the world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine.

“We are looking at how we can bring technology cultivated in Norway to Japan,” Takashi Fujita, general manager of Hitachi Zosen’s strategic planning department, said in an interview in Tokyo. “It won’t be that difficult. Both partners want to reduce time to bring the floating offshore technology to reality as much as possible.”

Japan is working to boost clean energy investment with an incentive program that started in July. It pays above-market rates for power from wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable sources, part of the program to diversify the sources of the nation’s energy after the meltdowns at Fukushima two years ago.

Britain and Germany are leading the world in developing offshore wind projects, taking advantage of steady breezes in the North Sea and experience drilling for oil in the waters. Japan wants to develop the floating technology for wind farms.

Hitachi Zosen plans to start with turbines fixed to the seabed and expand to floating windmills in offshore wind, Fujita said. The company, which spun off its shipbuilding business in 2002, first will focus on the Japanese market and expand to Southeast Asia, including the Philippines and Indonesia.