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Renova plans 560MW offshore wind farm in Japan

The facility is set to become the country's largest one once built, superseding a 229MW project awarded last month.

Renova, a Japanese renewable energy developer, has teamed up with local firms Eco Power and JR East Energy Department to develop what would be Japan’s largest offshore wind farm.   

The 560MW facility will occupy a 30km stretch of coastline off the shore of Yurihonjo city in Akita Prefecture, in the northwest of Honshu, Japan's main island. The plant is due to generate enough power to supply 475,000 households a year. 

A Renova spokesperson told Infrastructure Investor that the team is currently working out the project's cost, which partly depends on surveys to be conducted in the next few years, and thus that no estimates could be disclosed at this stage.

The team is conducting environmental feasibility studies until 2020, with construction expected to start in 2021. The wind farm is scheduled to begin commercial operations in 2026. 

The three companies recently asked for local governments' input to help carry out the feasibility studies, arguing that the project will help revitalise the region’s economy, in particular its fisheries.

Renova, an independent renewable power producer operating solar and biomass projects in Japan, is currently looking to expand its portfolio to include wind and geothermal power generation. 

Eco Power specialises in the development and operation of wind projects, while JR East Energy Development, a joint venture between East Japan Railway Company and Community Energy Development Company, has a mandate to develop Japan-based renewable energy plants, predominantly in the wind sector.

Last month, a group led by a unit of local utility Kyushu Electric was chosen as the preferred bidder to build a 229MW offshore wind farm off the coast of Kyushu island. The 175 billion-yen ($1.53 billion; €1.45 billion) project is the first to be procured under the revised Port and Harbour Law, which promotes offshore wind development in nearshore areas of the country. 

Japan ranked eighth in terms of global cumulative offshore wind capacity in 2016, with total offshore capacity standing at 60MW, according to the Global Wind Energy Council. The Japan Wind Power Association estimates that the country has over 450GW of offshore wind resources available.