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ECONOMY > Energy

Gov’t draws up new bill to promote wind power generation at sea

  • January 24, 2018
  • , Tokyo Shimbun , p. 7
  • JMH Translation

The outline of a new government bill to boost wind power generation at sea was revealed on Jan. 23. Uniform regulations will be introduced to substantially lengthen the duration allowed for the operation of windmills to 25 years or more, since current regulations differ by prefecture. The national government will also initiate consultative councils to facilitate the coordination of local interests. The new rules are aimed at expanding the participation of more companies in wind power generation. The cabinet is expected to approve the bill in March, with an eye on passing the bill during the current Diet session.


Wind velocity is relatively stable at offshore locations away from land and they have the benefit of not requiring measures to deal with noise and preservation of scenery. Windmills are also estimated to last for around 25 years. Currently, prefectural governments only allow operation for 3-10 years, and this is hindering investment in this business.


The new law will set the permit to use sea areas for setting up windmills at 25 years nationwide. It will also stipulate a uniform formula for calculating fees to be paid by businesses and the unit price. Applications will now be processed by the national government instead of prefectural governments and procedures for soliciting applications will be changed. Selection of companies to be granted licenses will be based on a point system for grading their business plans, with companies obtaining the highest points to be selected.


The new consultative councils will involve the local governments, fishermen, and other stakeholders. Power generation under this system will not be eligible for feed-in tariff for renewable energies in order to promote cost cutting in power generation through competition.


According to the government’s long-term forecast in 2015 of future energy demand and supply, wind power is expected to make up 1.7% of total power generation by FY30, with approximately 88% of facilities located on land, and only 12% at sea.

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