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Japan commits to floating offshore wind

Effects of Noise on Wildlife, News, Ocean, Ocean energy, Wind turbines Add comments

In order to compensate for the abandonment of many nuclear plants, the Japanese government has set its sights on the abundant wind resources off its coast.  A 15MW pilot floating wind turbine project is under construction not far from Fukushima; if all goes well, the project could expand to as large as 1000MW.  Along with smaller pilot projects in Norway and Maine, the Japanese effort will be a key player in moving floating offshore wind forward.

Currently, capital expenditure is about $1.7 million a megawatt for an onshore wind project and $5.5 million a megawatt for offshore, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance; floating offshore designs are still under development, raising initial costs even higher.  Over time, though, the cost is expected to come down enough to support widespread deep water floating wind farms; a feed-in tariff program promoting clean energy allows projects to receive higher-than-market rates as the sector develops.  Floating turbine designs are larger than onshore turbines, and can take advantage of stronger, steadier winds; foundation systems for floating turbines are much smaller than bottom-mounted near-shore foundations, minimizing impacts on the seabed and reducing the noise impact of construction.

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