Japan wants big offshore wind power expansion

Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara said Saturday he wants to aggressively promote power generation using windmills at sea, a form of alternative energy use still in its infancy in Japan.

“I would like to have wind power generation capacity rise to over 1 million kilowatts in 2020,” which would be about 40 times more than the current level, Ishihara told reporters after inspecting an experimental offshore floating windmill in southwestern Japan.

Ishihara said since Japan has areas suitable for wind-power generation such as remote islands, as well as a capability to expand use of such renewable energy. “We will have to spread it across the country,” the minister said.

A main factor behind Japan’s limited use so far of offshore wind power is said to be a relatively short stretch of shallow waters suited for construction of windmills fixed to the seabed, a structure commonly used around the world.