Japan aims to triple wind energy

The Japan Wind Power Association projected that the nation’s capacity to generate power from the renewable energy source will reach 2.65 million kilowatts, roughly equal to the amount produced by two nuclear reactors, by the end of March 2013, up 92,000 kw from the previous fiscal year.

The pace of increase in Japan’s capacity to produce electricity from wind power has slowed since the March 2011 quake and tsunami despite a new government step to promote it, due to the lack of proper power grids, estimates by an industry body showed Saturday.

The annual increase in wind power generation capacity is expected to fall short of 100,000 kw for the second straight year.

Since fiscal 2001, the margin of expansion has generally ranged from 150,000 kw to 300,000 kw, and peaked at 405,000 kw in fiscal 2006, according to the association.

But capacity growth decelerated in fiscal 2011 to 85,000 kw, following the termination of government subsidies for wind power plant construction.

The government introduced in July 2012 a feed-in tariff scheme to help spread the use of wind and other types of clean energy in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. But capacity has been slow to expand, with pro-nuclear utilities not enthusiastic about developing power transmission grids.

Under the feed-in tariff system, utilities are required in principle to buy, at fixed rates, electricity produced by others from renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power.

Experts also attribute the slower growth in Japan’s wind power generation capacity to the lengthy environment impact assessment process and regulations on the conversion of farmland to wind farm usage.


By prefecture, Aomori Prefecture in northeastern Japan is forecast to have had the largest wind power generation capacity of 330,000 kw in fiscal 2012, followed by Hokkaido with 290,000 kw, Kagoshima with 220,000 kw and Shizuoka, Fukushima and Akita with 140,000 kw, according to the association.

To accelerate grid development, the government has earmarked 25.3 billion yen in the fiscal 2013 budget. The money will be used to subsidize grid developers and study effective ways of extending power cables, officials said.

The government will also promote the spread of large-scale storage batteries to smooth fluctuations in wind power generation, they said.

Cumulative installed capacity of wind power generation at the end of December, 2011 = 2.501 MW, 1,832 units on 417 wind farms
Installed capacity of wind power generation in 2011 = 166 MW, 78 units on six wind farms: Approximately 60% of the previous years

In 2007, the installed capacity of wind power generation decreased to the level of less than one-half of 2006 due to the influence of the revised Building Standard Law; however, installations have been recovering steadily from that time. Nevertheless, the national goal of 3 MW as the installed capacity for FY 2010 was not, unfortunately, achieved due to the termination of the subsidization program for newly constructed wind farms in consideration of the transition to feed- in- tariff (FIT).

On the other hand, only a few ongoing projects will be granted subsidies, and the estimated cumulative installed capacity for wind power generation will be approximately 2.6 MW in FY 2013.

The installed capacities by fiscal year, including the estimated data for FY 2011, are listed below:

FY??????Cumulative installed capacity????Increased installed capacity in the year
MW????Number of units???????MW????Number of units

* Approximately 30% of the previous years

Japan’s Environment Ministry projects that the nation could potentially produce from wind power 280 million kw of electricity on land and 1.6 billion kw offshore.

Across the globe, wind power generation capacity in 2011 totaled 238.35 million kw, with China producing 62.73 million kw, about one fourth of the total, followed by such countries as the United States, Germany, Spain and India, according to the Global Wind Energy Council, an international industry body.

Japan ranked 13th globally, producing about 1 percent of the world total of electricity generated by wind energy.

Japan Wind Power Association (JWPA) announced “Wind Power Potential and long term target along with the road map Version 1.1” on 2010.1.15. And it was revised on 2010.6.30 as Version2.1. Now JWPA have released Version 3.2 as below;

1. Long term target
By 2050, weight of wind power energy supply will be more than 10% of the total national demand.
Capacity of the wind power generator in 2050: 50GW
Catch copy: Fifty/Fifty

2. Road map
2020: 11.3GW
2030: 28.8GW
2040: 46.2GW
2050: 50GW

Click the link below for more details