Within sight of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, a high-tech wind farm that will eventually bring clean energy to thousands of homes is now under construction. The wind farm is 20 kilometers off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture.
Fukushima Mirai, a wind turbine on a floating rig foundation, measures 80 meters across and rises 106 meters from the sea surface to the tip of a blade at its highest position. Mirai means future in Japanese.
The turbine, being built by Marubeni Corp. and other entities under consignment from the industry ministry, has an output capacity of 2 megawatts and is scheduled to enter trial runs as soon as next week.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. will install two more turbines, among the largest in the world with a diameter of 167 meters each, within two years. The three turbines, when completed, are expected to cover the power demand of more than 10,000 households.
The wind farm is considered a world first because its substation also floats along with the turbines.
A floating substation will not only reduce losses in transmission by allowing power to be transmitted to land at high voltages, but will also enable additional turbines to be installed simply by connecting them to the substation with cables.
Manufactured by Hamanaka Chain Mfg. Co., the steel chains for fastening the turbines and the substation to the seabed are the thickest used in Japan. Some sections are as thick as 13.2 centimeters and can withstand a maximum load of 1,070 tons.
The power transmission cables were also developed anew by Furukawa Electric Co. so they can withstand strong tide currents.