Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Japan’s wind power generation

Japan’s wind power generation

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Aerial view of wind towers in Higashi-Dori, tip of Japan’s main island Honshu. In fiscal 2017, renewable energy, excluding hydropower, accounted for only about eight per cent of total power generation. The figure for solar power was 5.2 per cent, while wind power stood at only 0.6 per cent. AFP

Japan’s wind power generation

Offshore wind power generation is attracting attention as a means to expand the use of renewable energy.

A new law to promote the introduction of offshore wind power came into force last year. Before that, operators of offshore power generation had to comply with separate prefectural ordinances and were allowed to operate only for three to five years. The new law enables an operation period to extend up to 30 years, to support commercialisation.

Japan is surrounded by the sea. It is appropriate for the government to aim to promote the spread of offshore wind power by utilising Japan’s geographical advantages.

The government designated the waters off Goto, Nagasaki Prefecture, as a promotion area. Two other areas – off the coast of Choshi in Chiba Prefecture and off Akita Prefecture – are also strong candidates for designation.

However, hurdles remain to be cleared before offshore wind power is widely used. It is essential to thoroughly examine its effectiveness and problems.

In fiscal 2017, renewable energy, excluding hydropower, accounted for only about eight per cent of total power generation. The figure for solar power was 5.2 per cent, while wind power stood at only 0.6 per cent.

It is important to increase wind power, which can generate electricity even at night or on cloudy days as long as the winds blow, to compensate for the disadvantages of solar power.

Until now, most wind power plants have been built on land. Suitable land for plants is limited because there are few plains in this country. There are also constant complaints about noise from such plants.

The wind is more stable at sea than on uneven land. It is also easy to construct large-capacity facilities without worrying about noise.

Utilise nuclear power

Europe is leading the way in offshore wind power. In Germany and Britain, renewable energy reportedly accounted for about 30 per cent, mainly from wind power. However, the situations in Europe and Japan are very different.

The biggest obstacle in Japan is high costs. In Europe, a “bottom-fixed type” of wind power is the most common, which is laid on the seabed in shallow waters. As there are few such shallow seas in Japan, a “floating type” on the sea surface will be the mainstream. Construction costs will be higher than those of the bottom-fixed type.

There is a shortage of power transmission lines connecting suitable places for power generation, such as Hokkaido or the Tohoku region, with major energy-consuming areas such as the Tokyo metropolitan area. Equipping such lines also will cost a lot.

The unit costs of wind power generation in Japan are 1.6 times the world average. The public and private sectors should cooperate to reduce costs through mass production and technological development.

There are many typhoons in Japan. The equipment must be made more durable. It is also important to consider the natural environment and gain the understanding of local fishermen.

To both prevent global warming and ensure a stable power supply, it is necessary to expand the use of renewable energy while utilizing nuclear power plants, which do not emit greenhouse gases and generate stable power.

The government should carefully explain to the public the importance of resuming the operation of nuclear reactors.



  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a