PROJECT | Karen Mesina, Japan

What you need to know about Japan's 122MW Tsugaru wind farm

It is slated to be Japan's biggest world-scale wind farm.

It was just a few days ago when US developer Pattern Energy announced its foray into the Japanese energy market by acquiring 167MW of wind project owned by one of its investment funds and Japanese subsidiary.

This deal includes ownership of the 122MW Tsugaru wind farm bought in a separate agreement for an estimated $194m.

Mitsuru Sakaki, president of Green Power Investment Corporation, said that the Tsugaru Wind project is under development on a farm land in Aomori Prefecture near the coast of the Sea of Japan. The wind facility will extend over 12km.

"Once complete, the facility will sell 100% of its electrical output under a feed-in-tariff (FiT) secured power purchase agreement (PPA) to the utility Tohoku Electric,” he revealed in a keynote session at the World Smart Energy Week 2018.

Green Power Investments is a Japanese renewable developer in which Pattern Energy owns a majority stake.

Sakaki added that Japan continues to focus more on tapping wind power and increase its share in the primary energy mix.

Low costs of wind power coupled declining capital expenditures involved in installing wind mills and turbines is driving the government to encourage investments in wind power sector. Further, lowered generation and equipment costs coupled with favorable government policies also remain key drivers. Increased competition has lowered prices, enabling Japan to diversify its power generation sources and adhere to global carbon emission targets. Accordingly, Japan wind power market is expected to witness a boost in the number of planned projects and power generation, which in turn enables market value.

But there are challenges that the market needs to overcome.

"Firstly, the good wind areas are very limited as these are all far-flung ones that are difficult to connect to the grid. We need to have good connection to get the power from there to high demand areas and we have to increase the network gradually so as not to stress it, he said,” Sakaki added.

The World Smart Energy Week 2018 is currently being held in Tokyo from 28 February to 2 March. 

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