Hydropower, Project Development, Wind Power

More Wind Farms to be Built in Japan

A trading house in Japan will build two more wind energy facilities in the northern part of the country.

TOKYO, Japan – Tomen Corp. will build the wind farms at Hamatonbetsu and Enbetsu in Hokkaido Prefecture. In November, it established Tomen Power Hamatonbetsu and Tomen Power Enbetsu as subsidiaries of Tomen Power Japan Corp., in order to manage the projects. The projects are the second stage of Tomen’s wind energy development, following its recent successes developing Japan’s largest scale projects in Hokkaido and Aomori prefecture. The two plants will have a combined generation capacity of 5,940 kilowatts (almost 6 megawatts), and will cost $12.3 million (1.4 billion yen). They will be in commercial operation by next October and will sell their electrical output to Hokkaido Electric Power Co. for 17 years at an average rate of 11.6 yen per kilowatt hour. The project at Hamatonbetsu, facing the Pacific Ocean 100 km south-east of Wakkanai in the north end of Hokkaido, qualifies for a subsidy by the New Energy & Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) under Japan’s New Energy Act. The other plant at Enbetsu, facing the Japan Sea, is 100 km south of Wakkanai. Both projects will be built on leased unused railway yards. Tomen claims to be one of the world’s largest wind power developers and operates more than 20 wind farms in Europe, the United States and Japan, with a combined capacity of 700 MW, including projects under construction. In 1999, it started operation at its 20 MW plant, Tomamae Green Hill Wind Park in Hokkaido, one of Japan’s largest scale wind power plants. The company recently announced plans to build a 32.5 MW wind plant in Shimokita Peninsula, Aomori Prefecture in 2001. “Wind power generation attracts the world’s attention as a powerful tool for reducing carbon-dioxide emissions,” says the company’s Toshio Hori. “It is also expected that demand for wind power generation will rapidly increase in Japan as the clean energy source of the 21st century.” Tomen Power Japan Corp., which controls Tomen’s energy interests, has been proceeding with wind research activities, including 20 areas in Hokkaido. It plans to boost its wind power output in Japan by expanding new projects. Both wind farms will use 990 kW turbines imported from Denmark that will generate enough electricity for 4,000 to 5,000 homes. Under the 17-year arrangement, the trading house will obtain 130 million yen in annual revenue from the sites. Hokkaido Electric Power will limit the electricity it buys from small producers to a total of 150 MW, or 3 percent of Hokkaido’s maximum power demand. It will select suppliers through open bidding if the wind farms generate more than 3 MW each, and Tomen is expected to limit its new plant capacities to that level in order to be exempted from the bidding requirement. However, industry sources say the company has secured enough land to greatly expand them if they are successful.