The central government on Friday stopped accepting bids for a second major round of offshore wind power tenders to build 1.8 gigawatts of capacity in four areas, with the result to be announced by the end of March.

Japan's offshore wind power market is set to grow as the government aims to install up to 10 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, and up to 45 GW by 2040, as part of its decarbonization push.

The latest bidding covers four areas, including a 700 megawatts (MW) farm off the coast of Murakami-Tainai in Niigata Prefecture and a 356 MW farm off the coast of Happo-Noshiro in Akita Prefecture.

The winners will be announced by the end of March though it may be brought forward to December this year if the process goes smoothly, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

Japanese trading house Itochu, city gas supplier Tokyo Gas and other companies were considering bidding in the second round, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday, adding that about 20 companies were expected to participate in the auction.

Itochu and Tokyo Gas declined to comment.

Under revised rules, companies are not allowed to disclose whether they intend to submit a bid or if they have submitted a bid in the auction.