Marubeni plans wind farm near Fukushima

A group of Japanese firms led by trading house Marubeni Corp. plans to build a large floating experimental wind farm off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, which was hit by a nuclear disaster last year.

The wind power project aims to generate around 12 MW of power, which would supply the needs of more than 100,000 households, and is hoped to go into operation by 2016, Jiji Press news agency reported, quoting Marubeni officials.

Marubeni plans to begin the wind energy experiment by the end of March, supported by Japan’s industry ministry with financing from a supplementary budget for reconstruction following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami which triggered the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Nippon Steel Corp and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co are in the consortium along with Marubeni, Jiji said, adding that an official announcement was expected in the following week.

The energy-hungry nation has virtually no natural resources of its own and relied on nuclear power for around a third of its electricity before March 11.

Since the disaster the vast bulk of nuclear plants have been shut down as local authorities blocked their being restarted following routine safety checks or maintenance, forcing the country to seek alternatives, in particular renewable sources of energy like solar energy and wind power.