With the nation still reeling from the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan is looking for alternative power supplies that would give variety to its sources of energy. U.S. firm General Electric Co. may have found the answer in a new investment aimed at developing wind power.
GE has recently developed a 2.85-megawatt turbine that would provide clean energy for the nation. Chief executive officer of renewable energy at GE Power & Water Anne McEntee said, “As you look at Japan and how we think about the energy mix in Japan, overall energy diversity is key.” The new turbine was constructed to resist weather conditions common to the country, such as typhoon-strength winds, turbulent conditions and lightning strikes. According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, solar power makes up 97 percent of renewable capacity for the nation, while wind only covers 1.1 percent. McEntee stressed the option of creating power without emitting harmful carbon dioxide. “We see an opportunity and that opportunity is in renewables,” she noted.
While the opportunity to expand the growth of wind power development has existed, delays in progressing the power was due in part to a requirement to conduct environmental impact assessments, according to Testuro Nagata, president of the wind association. In fact, opportunity in Japan to harness wind energy is so great as the nation’s wind generation capacity in 2013 was 34 times less than China. GE and other firms in Japan have been pushing for the growth of the wind industry in comparison to solar power. Currently, Danish turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems A/S tops Japan’s market in cumulative wind systems, while GE ranks second. Third is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, who recently announced a venture with Vestas. Japan Wind Power Association thinks the nation has a potential 144 gigawatts from onshore wind and 608 gigawatts coming from offshore, which is a huge number compared to the current 2.7 gigawatts of total wind capacity.