September 30, 2012
As Japan announced that it will become a nuclear free country by 2030, the Japanese government has started to approve a series of measures to start developing alternative energy sources. Here in Japan solar energy is not viable as there’s almost no space and most days throughout the year it is cloudy.
Wind energy is the alternative that seems the most feasible for the country but the lack of space makes it difficult to build the amount of wind mills necessary to produce enough energy. Apart from the typhoons that come once in a while, Japan is not a very windy country. There are very few places that have continuous winds above 6~8m/s.
In the following map you can see the areas that have more potential to develop wind energy sources; almost all of them are in the sea!
The solution that Japan is going to adopt is to build floating wind energy farms. The first experimental wind turbine has been built in Norway but Japan and United States are the first countries that are going to build fully operational wind farms. The United States floating wind energy farm will be located in the Maine gulf and the Japanese 1GW farm in the Goto islands (to the south from Nagasaki). The Japanese plan is to have the wind power farm completed and operational by 2020.
This is one of the standard models proposed in Japan; it should be designed to withstand the destructive power of typhoons:
And these are other proposed prototypes that are being built right now by Gicon, Hywind, Blue H Technologies and WindFloat:
Sources: Nautica Wind Power, IEEE.org, Telgraph,