Japan is mulling a series of sweeping new offshore wind initiatives that promise to speed up project timelines, facilitate local coordination and guarantee grid access.
On 17 February, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) held a joint conference discussing potential measures to accelerate the formation of projects and improve the business environment for offshore wind farms under the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Act.
“By accelerating the development of projects, the government aims to achieve the targets set out in the first phase of its vision for the offshore wind industry in December of last year,” explains Akio Hasegawa, a Director in RCG’s Tokyo office. “Several measures were outlined that will help facilitate local coordination and secure grid capacity.”
Last December, Japan unveiled the first phase of its vision for offshore wind, declaring a target of 10 GW by 2030 and 30 – 45 GW by 2040.
Based on the requests of the private sector, the government is considering the option of extending and renewing the period of occupation, for up to a maximum of 30 years, while keeping an eye on trends in technological development.
Hasegawa says there have been voices of concern originating from the private sector regarding the occupation permit, saying that a project can only be operated for approximately 20 years in reality, taking into account the period of development and demolition, and that if the period can be extended by 10-15 years, it will lead to reductions in costs.
The wind measurement will take about six months to prepare and about a year to carry out. Presently, after the promising areas for offshore wind power are selected, the preliminary preparations for the survey, which include wind measurement and site inspection, can begin.
In the future, however, preliminary preparations will likely start before the selection of the promising area, taking into account local conditions, so that the wind measurement can be carried out immediately after the selection of the promising area.
The country is also seeking to adopt a Japanese-style offshore wind allocation model to minimize the duplication of early development costs. In Japan, business associations have requested this reform in an effort to reduce the risk of business operators.
“The proposals here represent a policy shift for Japan,” Hasegawa explains, “which should ease the current challenges in the market.”