Pretty soon, Japan’s coastal areas will be home to marine wind turbines in an effort to create even more zero emission energy sources. A 126 meter tall wind turbine, embedded in the seabed on the eastern tip of the Kanto Plain and the biggest wind turbine in Japan is set to start operations early 2013.
After the Fukushima disaster of 2011, it has become imperative for the government to look into developing renewable sources of energy, particularly solar and wind. Studies have shown that marine wind turbines have much more potential rather than the land-based ones because of Japan’s geographical make-up, surrounded by seas and mountains.
However, don’t expect Japan to suddenly become a wind energy superpower. Its share is just 1% of the world’s total capacity, which is 4 gigawatts as of 2011. They still have a long way to go before they can catch up with Britain (51%) and Denmark (21%) as per statistics from the Global Wind Energy Council.
This 2.4-megawatt wind turbine about 3 km off the coast of Choshi is just the first step by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization. There are a few challenges facing these marine wind turbines. First, can they actually survive typhoons and violent weather that are familiar visitors in this kind of area. Saltwater corrosion is another problem that these structures will face. NEDO and Tokyo Electric Power Co. will be conducting tests over the next two years to see the viability of this kind of wind turbines.
According to Sadao Wasaka, the executive director of NEDO, Japan’s potential offshore wind power is at 1.5 billion kw and so it is very important for the country’s energy security, despite the expense and the logistical challenges.[ via Reve ]