Japan examining wind potential for replacing nuclear

With the national government still debating the permanent closure of its nuclear generation capacity, Japan has begun to turn to wind power, according to Bloomberg.

A new project is looking to develop the largest offshore wind plant in the world, just off the coast of Fukushima, where one of the country's nuclear power plants failed last year.

Because of the deep waters around Japan, the project intends to make use of floating turbines, attached to large barges rather than secured to the ocean floor.

This technology is still in the relatively early stages of development, but it holds some hope for countries like Japan, which boasts extensive coastline but few places where the ocean floor is shallow enough for wind turbines.

At present, the pilot project is only intended to produce around 16 megawatts of power, but if it receives final approval the power plant could produce as much as 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy. That amounts to more than 2 percent of the country's current nuclear capacity.

Japan is still considering its alternatives for replacing nuclear power, including whether to restart any of the plants that have been shut down since last year's disaster. Only one of the country's power plants is currently operating.

An outlook for the Japanese wind market is available at PennEnergy's Research area.

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