May 29, 2018 Read More →

Japanese Firms Take New Interest in Offshore Wind


Untapped offshore wind is luring Japan’s biggest commodity houses to invest in projects in Taiwan and at home, buoyed by favorable government policies that support development of the clean power.

Mitsui & Co. this month bought a stake in the Taiwanese wind developer Yushan Energy Co. that gives the Tokyo-based company a 20 percent stake in a 300-megawatt offshore project that may cost $1.8 billion to develop. Mitsubishi Corp. is working with partners to build a separate windmill venture off Taiwan’s coast and Marubeni Corp. is developing two offshore projects in the northern Japanese prefecture of Akita.

Buffeted by strong breezes in the Taiwan Strait, the island has emerged as a hot spot for clean power projects as President Tsai Ing-Wen works to phase out nuclear energy while adding 25 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2025. The island is seeking to boost offshore wind capacity to 5.5 gigawatts over the same timeframe, from just 8 megawatts.

Globally, there are about 18 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity and Europe accounts for more than 80 percent of that, with the rest mostly in Asia, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Asia will add 3.5 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity in 2030, more than double the 1.5 gigawatts to be added in Europe the same year, according to estimates in a December report from BNEF.

Mitsubishi, which will start construction of a 950-megawatt wind project off the U.K. coast with partners this year, aims to double its renewable output so that it accounts for about 20 percent of its total power production by 2030. Offshore wind will play an important role in that expansion, according to Yusuke Takeuchi, who heads a power business development team at Mitsubishi.

More: ‘Dawn’ of Asia Offshore Wind Boom Lures Japanese Trading Houses

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