TEPCO to start offshore wind energy test in Japan in 2012

TEPCO said it plans to erect wind turbines on an offshore platform in the Pacific Ocean at a point 3 kilometers south of the city in Chiba Prefecture under a project worth some 3.3 billion yen. Its blades will cover an area 90 meters in diameter.

The country’s biggest power utility said it envisages the planned wind turbines being the largest sea-based wind power generator in the country.

The company has carried out the project jointly with the government-affiliated New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization and shouldered a one-third of the total cost.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. (TEPCO) will launch the "Experimental Study on Offshore Wind Power Generation Systems" (hereinafter "the Study") in June this year.  As a joint research project with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development  Organization (NEDO), the Study aims to establish methods for operating and maintaining offshore wind turbines and formulate design guidelines for wind energy generation systems by setting up a fixed-type offshore wind power generation facility about 3 km  off the southern coast of Choshi, Chiba.

Prior to the Study, TEPCO started the "Experimental Study on Offshore Wind Observation Systems" in August 2009 in coordination with the University of Tokyo as a project entrusted by NEDO. The aim of this project is to monitor meteorological and hydrographic conditions, including wind and wave conditions, by building an offshore wind observation tower in the target sea area.

The Study is an extension of this earlier project and will be a next step toward the commercialization of offshore wind power generation. In the Study, a fixed-type offshore wind power generation facility running a wind turbine equipped with a 90-meter diameter rotor will be operated from June 2010 (slated) to March 2014 in the target sea area.

Its objective is to establish methods for designing, installing, operating and maintaining wind power generation systems in the hostile natural environment in the seas near Japan, and to identify the environmental effects of offshore wind farm generation facilities.

The outcome of the Study, along with that of past studies, is expected to be used by NEDO for achieving its goal of establishing offshore wind power generation technologies suited to the natural environment of Japan.

As part of efforts to increase the use of renewable energy, TEPCO will remain committed to studies to develop safe and cost-effective offshore wind power generation systems to make use of wind energy on the sea, where wind conditions are better than on shore.