After a slow start and some early setbacks, Japan’s efforts to build offshore wind power generation – literally from the ground up – are finally gaining traction. With only six years remaining to meet 2030 interim clean energy goals, the government is seeking to accelerate the rollout of wind energy.
It took over two years to host Round 1 wind auctions (1.7 GW) and then adjust the tender rules to satisfy most industry players. In contrast, by the end of this year METI hopes to have selected developers for over 2.4 GW of capacity within 13 months.
Equally important, the industry’s reaction to the Round 2 results, announced last month, was strong enough to start the bidding process for Round 3 a month later. On Friday, January 19, METI began soliciting bids for two areas off Yamagata and Aomori Prefectures, with a total capacity of 1.05 GW.
While officials hesitate to put a timeframe on subsequent tenders beyond this year’s Round 3, preparatory work on zoning and other regulations is in progress. Also, the frequency of policy meetings at METI on offshore wind has increased, mainly to cover floating offshore wind tech that will be vital for the development of deeper waters to which the industry will shift focus in the 2030s.