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Press Release 2012

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Joint Research on Commercialization and Construction Technology for Offshore Wind Power Generation Plants

Regional Promotion Aqua-Wind Commercialization Study Group established by six companies and one association

October 19, 2012
Hitachi Zosen Corporation
Japan Weather Association
Toshiba Corporation
JFE Steel Corporation
Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.
Toa Corporation
Toyo Construction Co., Ltd.

*This press release was issued on September 4, 2012 in Japan.

Six companies and one association have established the Regional Promotion Aqua-Wind Commercialization Study Group (hereafter, the “Study Group”) as a joint study group on the construction technology and commercialization of offshore wind power generation plants. The group members are Hitachi Zosen Corporation (Suminoe-ku, Osaka; President: Minoru Furukawa), the Japan Weather Association (Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Chairman: Katsuhiko Nawano), Toshiba Corporation (Shibaura, Minato-ku; President: Norio Sasaki), JFE Steel Corporation (Uchisaiwai-cho, Chiyoda-ku; President: Eiji Hayashida), Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. (Chuo-ku, Osaka; President: Masayoshi Matsumoto), Toa Corporation (Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku; President: Masaomi Matsuo), and Toyo Construction Co., Ltd. (Aomi, Koto-ku; President: Shigeki Mohri).

The Study Group is designed to carry out surveys and deliberations for the realization of offshore wind power generation businesses that can contribute to regional promotion, such as the revitalization of the local economy and regional cooperation; and to bring together the features, technical abilities, and knowledge of each company for business proposals related to offshore wind power generation. Our main activities are as follows.

1. Business proposals related to seabed-fixed offshore wind power generation businesses
Within this financial year we intend to select the most promising fields and measure wind conditions there. Next financial year we shall evaluate the economics based on the wind conditions measurement results as well as the estimates for construction and operation costs, and make our final determination on commercialization.
If we determine that commercialization is viable, we shall establish a Special Purpose Company (SPC) and direct our activities towards realizing specific businesses. In addition to the Study Group member companies, the SPC will recruit investment from energy-related companies as well as local businesses and groups.
As noted above, the process from selection of fields suited for offshore wind power generation, as well as wind condition measurements and evaluation of business viability, to carrying out businesses will be led by the private sector. In a few years, we intend to have pilot plants of up to 7.5 MW installed in several locations, and a decade from now we aim to construct offshore wind farms of several hundred megawatts in scale.
2. Technology development and demonstrations for floating offshore wind power generation
Floating offshore wind power generation is currently considered to be in the research and development phase, so we will work towards developing and demonstrating the technology. Our Study Group will consider windmill behavior in regard to floating body oscillation as well as ways to reduce costs, and develop a maintenance method for offshore windmill facilities. Our demonstration tests will make use of our seabed-fixed pilot plant and facilities that can be put into service, and in addition, once the tests are over, our plan is for the experimental equipment to be usable.

The major roles of each of our members are as follows.

Members Major Areas of Responsibility
Hitachi Zosen Corporation Marine structures
(seabed fixed/floating)
Japan Weather Association Environmental impact assessments, wind condition surveys
Toshiba Corporation Windmill equipment
JFE Steel Corporation Steel materials
Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. Submarine power cables
Toa Corporation Offshore construction technology
Toyo Construction Co., Ltd. Offshore construction technology

As a renewable energy source, offshore wind power generation has gained attention as a way to reduce greenhouse gases, but following the Great East Japan Earthquake, it has also gained a great deal of attention from the point of view of electricity supply. Japan is a maritime nation with the world’s sixth-most extensive exclusive economic zone, and we expect that the increased wind speeds and reduced turbulence over the water will allow more stable and efficient power generation for both fixed and floating wind power generation.

Japan has also begun the Feed-In Tariff as of this July, and the Study Group intends to contribute to the revitalization of regional communities as a whole through win-win relationships between the local area and the power companies. We are actively engaged in the commercialization of large-scale offshore wind power generation with the goals of stable energy supply and reducing greenhouse gases.

  Figure  Illustration of an Offshore Wind Power Generation Facility
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