The Japanese Government has passed a bill which sets a national framework for the development of offshore wind.
Under the law, the government will set aside offshore areas for wind power projects. Developers will then bid to use the designated areas and successful bidders will be given the right to use the zones for up to 30 years.
This is a crucial step for Japan’s future energy strategy, sending a strong signal that the government is committed to long-term investment into offshore wind, which will not only provide a sustainable energy source, but also increase energy security by reducing the country’s reliance on expensive imported LNG.
The Japan Wind Power Association said both Diets approved the legislation on 30 November 2018, including supplementary resolutions added to the bill addressing the concerns of the fishing industry and the need to ensure that winning bids for offshore wind should be sufficient to fund decommissioning at the end of the commercial operation of offshore windfarms.
The new law will come into effect in early 2019, which means that competition for development rights in areas approved for offshore wind can finally get underway.
Carbon Trust director offshore wind Jan Matthiesen said “This bill is a big step in the right direction. The next crucial stage will be to develop the next level of detail to clarify the expected power capacity of the zones and the overall ambition and timeframe for the zone allocation.
“Providing guidance on how developers should undertake the required site surveys needed to create the development plan and life cycle cost estimate will also be important, as will the provision for grid connections and clarification of whether costs will be borne by the developer or the grid operators.
“Over the past 10 years offshore wind has been a phenomenal success story in the UK and Europe, achieved through a combination of innovation support and a constructive policy framework. This has driven rapid cost reduction enabling wide-scale deployment and we look forward to sharing our experiences and lessons learnt to help Japan reap the rewards of this important renewable energy source.”
Long seen as a potentially significant market for offshore wind – and for floating offshore wind in particular – policy developments in Japan mean it is now about to reach the point where projects will actually get underway.