Together with fellow G7 members, Japan has committed itself to a major buildout of offshore wind power generation. In effect, this means creating a sector almost from scratch.
While most attention so far has focused on the slow rollout of auctions to decide which companies will develop offshore wind projects, there’s been one positive result: allowing time for domestic industry to grasp the policy shift and start planning ways it can participate in the sector’s burgeoning supply chain. That also instigated a flurry of partnerships between Japanese and international firms, creating new market players.
The government’s top goals for offshore wind generation are clear: Become a significant source of energy on a scale that squeezes fossil fuel generation to a minimum and overtakes domestic nuclear capacity. The initial 10 GW of offshore wind capacity penciled in for this decade is supposed to precede a much faster rollout in the 2030s and the 2040s, with a gradual shift to turbines that float in deep water, as opposed to fixed to the ocean floor. For these plans and visions to be realized, however, the sector will need to aggressively cut its costs and one way to do that, according to the government, will be to create a vibrant and competitive domestic supply chain that would service the full cycle of wind power generation from environmental assessments to turbine decommissioning. We review some of the recent developments in this space.