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Japan awards largest offshore wind farm

The 229MW facility is the first to be procured under the revised Port and Harbour Law, which promotes offshore wind development in the country.

A consortium led by Kyushu Electric subsidiary Kyuden Mirai has been chosen as the preferred bidder to build a 229MW offshore wind farm, set to be the largest in Japan to date. 

Other members of the team selected to develop the 175 billion-yen ($1.55 billion; €1.45 billion) project include Tokyo-based J-Power, Hokutaku Renewable Energy Service, Saibu Gas and engineering firm Kyudenko, Kyuden Mirai said in a statement. The latter specialises in developing and operating renewable energy assets in Japan, with a target of building 700MW of projects.

Government-affiliated financial institutions and local banks are expected to finance the plant, according to local reports. 

Construction is due to commence in 2021, following an environmental evaluation which would take three to four years. Located off the coast of Fukuoka prefecture on the island of Kyushu, the Hibikinada wind farm will be developed in two phases, involving the installation of 44 turbines.

The government of Kitakyushu city initiated the auction for the development of the nearshore project last August, hoping it would help boost activity at the nearby Kitakyushu port. 

The project is the first to be procured since the Port and Harbour Law was revised last May to allow project developers to lease the designated water zone for a period of up to 20 years, with the establishment of a bidding system for offshore wind-related development in port areas. 

Japan ranked eighth in terms of global cumulative offshore wind capacity in 2016, according to statistics from the Global Wind Energy Council. The Asian country added 7MW of offshore wind last year, bringing its total offshore capacity to 60MW.


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