Spanish offshore wind giant Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy announced last month that it had received its first preferred supplier nomination for the Japanese offshore wind industry, being nominated as preferred supplier for the Northern Akita offshore pipeline in Japan which has a capacity of up to 455 megawatts (MW).
Offshore wind outside of Europe exists almost exclusively in Chinese waters, but recent policy actions by national and state governments as well as power companies has begun to increase the pipeline of offshore wind projects outside of the technology’s traditional regional locations. Recent figures from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) highlighted the recent rise in development on the East Coast of the United States of America as well as growing potential in key Asian markets such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, India, and South Korea. Parallel to this, the UK’s wind energy trade body, RenewableUK also published figures last month which showed that the global portfolio of offshore wind energy projects in operation, under construction, or in development rose from just under 105 gigawatts (GW) to over 121 GW in just the last 12 months. This was driven largely by the United States and Taiwan, which now boast offshore wind pipelines of 15.7 GW and 8.9 GW respectively.
While Japan’s offshore wind energy plans are not quite as definitive as those listed above, the country is nevertheless looking to offshore wind to account for a significant portion of its power generation requirements.
Earlier this year, energy analysts Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables published figures which predicted Japan’s offshore wind industry will boast upwards of 4 GW of installed capacity by 2028 — a 62-fold increase on 2018 figures. The country’s offshore ambitions will be boosted by the country’s continued apathy towards nuclear power in the wake of the disastrous nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011. Further, Japan’s offshore wind industry will be supported by its leading power utilities, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Japan’s Electric Power Development Co., better known as J-Power.
Announced in the second half of June, Siemens Gamesa announced that it had been named preferred supplier for an offshore wind pipeline of projects in the Northern Akita region, off the country’s northwestern coast. This is the company’s first preferred supplier nomination in Japan and highlights the early days of Japan’s offshore wind industry gearing up.
Specifically, Siemens Gamesa received a preferred supplier nomination from the Obayashi Corporation, one of Japan’s five major construction companies. The agreement would see Siemens Gamesa supply its SG 8.0-167 DD (8 MW) offshore wind turbines for the Northern Akita Offshore Wind Farm project, a pipeline which will reach capacity of up to 455 MW at a site in the northern region of Tohoku. The agreement also includes a long-term service agreement.
Commercial operation for the project is scheduled to start in 2024, but all deliveries are reliant on a final investment decision from Obayashi Corporation, which must also participate in a national tender to secure development rights for the project.
“Entering the Japanese offshore wind market is significant for Siemens Gamesa,” said Andreas Nauen, CEO of the Siemens Gamesa Offshore Business Unit. “It is another example of the true globalization currently taking place within the industry, and we are proud to establish a foothold. We are encouraged by the close cooperation we have with Obayashi Corporation, and will eagerly anticipate this preferred supplier agreement becoming a firm order.”
The two companies also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote the benefits of offshore wind to the local communities which will see the two work together to also proceed with the highest-available standards regarding installation and maintenance.
“It is very exciting to be able and announce our expanding presence in the Asia-Pacific region together with our customer Obayashi Corporation,” added Niels Steenberg, Executive General Manager of Siemens Gamesa Offshore for Asia-Pacific. “We firmly believe in the potential of offshore wind inJapan, especially with the strong support the government is showing for the industry lately, and we are committed to contribute to the establishment of the market there.”
“We are pleased to announce that we have decided to work closely with SGRE, a worldwide leading wind turbine supplier, to seek for the realization of the Northern Akita Offshore Wind Farm Project,” said Yuichi Yamamoto, Managing Executive Officer, and General Manager of Obayashi Corporation’s Technology Business Development Division. “This project is a core of our expansion to new business which is one of Obayashi’s four existing pillar business. We believe that the collaboration between the companies will accelerate implementing the long-term project safely and properly along with promoting the benefits to the local community.”