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Asia Minute: Japan Pushing Off Shore Wind Energy

geograph.org.uk / Wikimedia Commons
geograph.org.uk / Wikimedia Commons

It’s been ten years since Hawai‘i launched its “Clean Energy Initiative” to reduce the state’s dependence on fossil fuels.  According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, renewable energy now accounts for about 27 percent of utility electricity sales across the state. So far, off shore wind energy has not played a role in those figures, but it’s a different story elsewhere. And in Japan, government officials are taking steps to increase its use. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Japan’s government wants to encourage offshore wind power. And right now, that means clarifying some of the rules.

Jiji Press quotes sources who say the goal is to reduce the cost of off shore wind production—which is three to six times more expensive in Japan than it is in Europe. There are no centralized regulations. Each project requires separate negotiations with stakeholders—including commercial interests, such as shipping companies and fisheries.

Australia has installed several offshore wind projects, but the industry leaders right now are in Europe.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the United Kingdom has the most installed offshore wind capacity—although the group projects that China will become the overall global leader by the year 2022.

Other large projects are underway in Taiwan and the Netherlands.

The first offshore windfarm in the United States began operations off the coast of Rhode Island in 2016.

Japan is pursuing various renewable energy sources—but remains a large importer of fossil fuels.

The government wants to boost its use of renewable energy to about 23 percent of its electricity by the year 2030. Up from its current level of about 15 percent.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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