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Thu12182014

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New transmission lines to bring wind power to mainland Japan

New transmission lines to bring wind power to mainland Japan
A Steep coastline, "Syakotan peninsula" in Hokkaido Japan

Japan aims to triple its wind power capacity to 7.5 million kilowatts by developing transmission grids in the Hokkaido and the Tohoku regions. According to the Japan Wind Power Association, Japan could have 50 gigawatts of wind-generated electricity by 2050, accounting for over 10 percent of the country’s demand. Hokkaido and Tohoku are considered the most suitable areas for wind power production.

Local utilities Hokkaido Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co. have already built transmission lines to connect wind power production sites with existing transmission lines, but they found it difficult to further prop up wind power production due to difficulties in securing funds to build more transmission lines, reported AsiaOne News.

Under a 10-year project, to be launched in April 2013, the Japanese government plans to cover the costs of building transmission grids, including fees for utilizing the networks gathered from wind power producing companies.

It is estimated that public and private sectors will spend around 310 billion yen (S$4.1 billion) on the transmission grids project.

Wind-generated power in Hokkaido and Tohoku would possibly provide electricity for the Tokyo metropolitan area and other locations through the transmission networks of major utility companies.

Apart from these regions, Hokuriku, Sanin regions and Kyushu are also seen prospects to harness wind energy.

If the government’s plan to cover the costs of building transmission grids with fees for using the networks would also be applied in these locations, AsiaOne stated that government estimates that Japan could further raise its wind capacity to 147.7 million kW, roughly six times of current level.

The J.W.P.A. said offshore generation has more potential in Japan than onshore. To put into perspective, the average offshore wind speed exceeds 7.5 meters per second while onshore wind speed exceeds 6.5 meters per second.

Japan aims to become a global leader in wind power with a goal to build a 1-gigawatt wind facility off the coastline of Fukushima Prefecture (see related story), the largest in the world when completed by 2020. – EcoSeed Staff



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