Wind-power system off Fukushima performs poorly: sources

JIJI

Japan’s largest offshore wind-power generation facility, located off Fukushima Prefecture, hardly ever reaches its output capacity of 7,000 kilowatts, sources have said.

The turbine operates in an experimental offshore power-generation project run by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry that was launched in fiscal 2011, soon after the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in the prefecture.

The ministry plans to continue the project until the end of fiscal 2018 in order to determine an appropriate size for such a power generation facility, the sources said Thursday.

The project is being undertaken by a consortium led by major trading house Marubeni Corp. Other members include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and the University of Tokyo.

The group will try to operate the facility at its maximum output at the end of this year or later. In summer, however, its output is expected to be around only 4,000 kilowatts, because winds tend to be mild during the season, sources said.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government aims to increase the total capacity of offshore wind-power generation facilities in the prefecture to 2 million kilowatts by fiscal 2030, as part of efforts to promote post-disaster reconstruction through the development of renewable energy sources.

In the industry ministry project, a total of three floating wind turbines have been established some 20 kilometers off the prefecture. For this, central government expenditures totaling ¥58.5 billion have been secured over years through fiscal 2018.

The 7,000-kilowatt facility, installed in 2015, has faced several operational problems, and the only time it reached its full capacity was for six hours during a safety test in December 2017, sources said.

The ministry will examine whether such a huge wind-power generation facility can be put to practical use by using data obtained through the project, a ministry official said.