Offshore Wind

Japan's Largest Offshore Wind Farm Now Online

JERA, the largest power generation company in Japan, said the 112-MW Ishikari Bay New Port offshore wind farm has entered commercial operation. The utility, along with Green Power Investment Corp. (GPI), JERA’s partner in the project, announced the installation was commissioned on Jan. 1.

Ishikari Bay is now Japan’s largest offshore wind park. The site features 14 SG 8.0-167 DD turbines manufactured by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, and is the first wind power facility in Japan to use turbines of that 8-MW size. The turbines are certified to withstand both typhoon-force winds and seismic activity, a common occurrence in Japan. The wind farm is located off the west coast of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The project also incorporates 180 MWh of battery energy storage capacity at the project’s transformer substation. Power is then sent to Hokkaido Electric Power Network’s (HEPN’s) Nishi Sapporo Substation. HEPN has a 20-year agreement to purchase the wind farm’s electricity.

The Ishikari Bay New Port offshore wind farm at present is the largest in commercial operation in Japan. The 112-MW installation, located near Hokkaido, features 14 turbines from Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. Source: JERA

JERA in a Jan. 4 news release said, “Bringing the project to completion was possible because of the tremendous cooperation and understanding extended by regional communities and government administrations including Hokkaido Prefecture, Ishikari City, and Otaru City during the project’s development and construction.

“JERA and GPI are committed to envisioning the region’s future together through the promotion of renewable energy projects. Going forward, we plan to work together with the people of Ishikari City, Otaru City, and the region to ensure both stable management of the project and regional development.”

GPI is a former Japanese affiliate of U.S. energy developer Pattern Energy Group, which sold GPI to JERA and NTT Anode Energy Corp last year. GPI is a Japanese developer, owner, and operator of renewable energy assets.

A joint venture between Shimizu Corp. and Nippon Steel Engineering was responsible for offshore construction of the wind farm, and Kajima Corp. did the project’s onshore work.

Other Offshore Wind Projects

A JERA-led group also announced it was among the winners in Japan’s second offshore wind tender, the results of which were announced in December. Japan’s industry and land ministries picked three groups that could develop and operate offshore wind farms, as the country works to have at least 10 GW of offshore wind generation capacity in the queue by 2030, and as much as 45 GW of capacity in development by 2040.

JERA, as part of a consortium including Itochu, Tohoku Electric Power, and J-Power, was awarded rights to build a 315-MW wind farm off the coast of Oga-Katagami-Akita in Akita prefecture in northern Japan. A group including Mitsui & Co., Germany’s RWE, and Osaka Gas is set to build a 684-MW wind farm off the coast of Murakami-Tainai in Niigata prefecture in northern Japan. A third group, comprised of Sumitomo Corp. and Tokyo Electric Power’s renewable energy unit, won the tender for a 420-MW wind farm off the coast of Enoshima in Nagasaki prefecture in southwestern Japan. The three projects will be designed as bottom-fixed type wind farms, with commercial operation set to begin between June 2028 and August 2029.

Marubeni, a Japanese company that develops offshore wind projects, launched the country’s first commercial offshore wind operations in late 2022 and early 2023 at Noshiro port and Akita port. Those two installations have combined generation capacity of about 130 MW.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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