Japan to Test Floating Wind Power Generation System Near Fukushima

Mar 9, 2012
Tetsuo Nozawa, Nikkei Electronics
Images of the system used in the field test. The three floating wind power generators use different floating and power generation methods.
Images of the system used in the field test. The three floating wind power generators use different floating and power generation methods.
[Click to enlarge image]

Eleven organizations including Marubeni Corp and the University of Tokyo announced that they will start a field test of a floating wind power generation system in a sea area off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, within fiscal 2011 ending March 31, 2012.

This project is sponsored by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

A floating wind power generation system is a power generations system (including a windmill) floating on the sea. A cable equipped with an anchor is used to fix the system so that it is not drifted away.

In 2009, a floating wind power generation system with a rated output of 2.3MW was installed in Norway. And, in December 2011, Kyushu University started a field test of a floating wind power generation system in a sea area off Hakata Bay, aiming to combine it with a photovoltaic power generation system. It is funded by Japan's Ministry of Environment. But, in the test, the university uses two wind power generation systems with a rated output of only 3kW each.

Floating windmill, substation

For the field test announced this time, the organizations are planning to build three floating wind power generators and a floating substation that has a voltage of 66kV and functions as an electric power substation. They will install a system with a rated output of 2MW within fiscal 2011 and will add two wind power generators with a rated output of higher than 7MW each in fiscal 2013 to 2015.

The system will be installed in a sea area 20-40km away from Fukushima Prefecture. The organizations expect that the water depth and annual average wind velocity of the area are 100-150m and 7.0m/s or higher, respectively.

The 11 organizations established a consortium for the field test. Its members are Marubeni, the University of Tokyo, Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Ltd, IHI Marine United (IHIMU) Inc, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (MES) Co Ltd, Nippon Steel Corp, Hitachi Ltd, Furukawa Electric Co Ltd, Shimizu Corp and Mizuho Information & Research Institute Inc.

Marubeni and the University of Tokyo serve as a project integrator and a technical adviser, respectively. MHI, IHIMU and MES will provide the facilities of the floating wind power generation system. Hitachi, Furukawa and Shimizu will supply the floating substation, marine cables and steel products, respectively.