Japan’s wind energy potential is over 133 GW

A study result indicating the potential for Japan to install a total of about 133 GW of wind power capacity was released. The total wind power capacity currently installed in Japan is about 1,854 MW (as of fiscal 2008, based on data from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization: NEDO). The study result has brought a renewed recognition that a significant potential still exists in the country.

This study was conducted by the Japanese Wind Power Association (JWPA). The process included the determination of suitable sites for construction based on conditions including wind velocity, and calculation of the potential installation capacity taking into account a variety of social conditions.

Compared with the 81-GW installation capacity estimated in a similar study carried out in 2007, the recent study result suggested a considerably larger capacity due to the increase in the land area found suitable for the construction of wind energy offshore and other types of wind farms.

JWPA plans to further improve the accuracy of its calculation of potential installation capacity by adding more conditions in the future; such as whether there are roads available for the transportation of construction materials and whether sufficient distances are secured between the site and residential buildings.

JWPA has set up a long-term installation target of expanding wind energy to supply 10% or more of Japan’s electricity demand by 2050. The wind power installation capacity required to achieve this target is estimated to be about 50 GW.

Japan now has four wind turbine manufactures; Mitsubishi Heavy Industry (MHI, 2.4 MW), Fuji Heavy Industry (2 MW), Japan Steel Works (JSW) (2 MW), Komai Tekko (300 kW). However, foreign manufacturers such as Vestas, GE and Enercon dominate the Japanese market.