Offshore Wind May Become Key to Japan’s Energy Mix, Vestas Says

June 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Wind energy, especially offshore,
could become a key power source as the country reviews its
energy strategy, Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) Chief Marketing Officer
Morten Albaek said.

“If Japan is going to reduce its imports of fossil fuels,
then you need to get more renewable energy into the energy
mix,” he said in an interview in Tokyo. “Wind will play a key
role, and offshore wind will be a significant segment inside
wind energy.”

Japan, the biggest buyer of liquefied natural gas, is
reviewing its energy mix after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear
disaster and the change of government in December. An incentive
program started in July has boosted investments in clean energy,
with most new capacity so far in solar power. Wind supplied 0.49
percent of electricity demand in 2011, according to the
International Energy Agency.

The application and approval process for wind projects
needs to be “optimized,” Albaek said in the interview
yesterday, citing the environmental impact studies required of
developers. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet this month
approved a growth strategy that includes trying to speed up the
studies, which usually take three to four years.

Japan has many factors that favor the growth of wind power,
Albaek said, including above-market rates for clean energy, an
ambition to be more independent of energy imports, strong public
support for renewables, and plenty of wind.

Vestas and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (7011), Japan’s
largest heavy-machinery maker, are in talks to develop an 8-megawatt turbine, Vestas Chief Financial Officer Dag Andresen
said in November. Andresen has since resigned. Albaek declined
to comment on the talks.

Japan ranked 13th in the world with 2,614 megawatts of
installed wind capacity at the end of last year, according to
the Global Wind Energy Council.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at

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