Quantcast
Business

Fukushima Floating Wind Turbine Up and Running

Clean wind energy is now being produced just off the coast of Fukushima, the same place where large quantities of radioactive water have been flowing as a result of a 2011 nuclear disaster.

An offshore, 2 megawatt (MW) wind turbine became operational this week, according to the consortium operating the turbine as part of an experimental study. Named the Fukushima Mirai, the turbine is one of several projects the Earth Policy Institute predicted would lead to a seventh consecutive record year for offshore wind power installations around the world. Developers added 1,080 MW of generating capacity in the first half of the year, expanding the world total by 20 percent in just six months.

The 2 megawatt, downwind-type floating wind turbine Fukushima Mirai. Photo credit: Marubeni Corp.

By the end of the year, there should be more than 7,100 MW of wind power in the world, according to the Earth Policy Institute. 

“Fukushima is making a stride toward the future, step by step,” Yuhei Sato, governor of Fukushima, said at a ceremony this week, Bloomberg reported. “Floating offshore wind is a symbol of such a future.”

The turbine, manufactured by Hitachi, was funded by the Japanese government and is operated by Marubeni Corp. and 10 other companies, including The University of Tokyo, Mitsubishi Corp. and Shimuzu. It is accompanied by a 66-kilovolt floating power sub-station and part of an upcoming trio of turbines that will total 16 MW when two more turbines are added to the floating substation, Fukushima Kizuna.

 "The evaluation of safety, reliability and economic potential of the offshore floating wind farm through the collection and analysis of meteorological data, hydrographic data and performance data will be carried out during the experimental study," according to a statement from the consortium. "In addition, we are targeting to establish the method of operation and maintenance of the offshore floating wind farm at the same time."

 The group says it will continue the study until the 2015 fiscal year with the intention of creating an offshore industry for Fukushima and to help offshore wind facilities lead "Japan’s new export industry" that can coexist with fisheries.

The Earth Policy Institute previously expressed enthusiasm for floating turbines.

"Not only do they greatly expand the area available for wind farms, they also have the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of offshore wind generation, which today is more than twice as expensive as that from turbines on land," according to the Earth Policy Institute. "While offshore wind manufacturers have managed to achieve cost reductions for the turbines themselves—through lighter, stronger materials and increased efficiency, for example—these savings have thus far been offset by the rising cost of installing and maintaining turbines fixed to the seabed as projects move into deeper waters."

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Julie Dermansky

Nearly 400,000 Gallons of Oil Spews Into Gulf of Mexico, Could Be Largest Spill Since Deepwater Horizon

Last week, a pipe owned by offshore oil and gas operator LLOG Exploration Company, LLC spilled up to 393,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, reminding many observers of the Deepwater Horizon explosion seven years ago that spewed approximately 210 million gallons of crude into familiar territory.

Now, a report from Bloomberg suggests that the LLOG spill could be the largest in the U.S. since the 2010 BP blowout, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Keep reading... Show less

Strange Days: Ex-Hurricane Ophelia Batters Ireland Under Orange Skies

By Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland hard with full hurricane-like fury on Monday, bringing powerful winds that caused widespread damage and power outages. At least two deaths have been reported from trees falling on cars, and The Irish Times said at least 360,000 ESB Networks customers lost power in Ireland because of the storm.

Keep reading... Show less
Runoff from a farm field in Iowa during a rain storm. Lynn Betts / U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Drinking Water for Millions in Rural America Contaminated With Suspected Carcinogen

Drinking water supplies for millions of Americans in farm country are contaminated with a suspected cancer-causing chemical from fertilizer, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

The contaminant is nitrate, which gets into drinking water sources when chemical fertilizer or manure runs off poorly protected farm fields. Nitrate contaminates drinking water for more than 15 million people in 49 states, but the highest levels are found in small towns surrounded by row-crop agriculture. Major farm states where the most people are at risk include California, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Kansas.

Keep reading... Show less
www.youtube.com

Trump's Approval Rating on Hurricane Response Sinks 20 Points After Puerto Rico

President Trump's approval rating for overseeing the federal government's response to hurricanes fell by 20 points after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, a CNN poll conducted by SSRS revealed.

Trump's approval rating for responding to hurricanes Harvey and Irma stood at 64 percent in mid-September. Just a month later, only 44 percent approve.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Photo taken by Hélio Madeiras, a firefighter in Portugal. Facebook

Wildfires Rage Through Portugal and Spain, Kill at Least 39

Wildfires have killed at least 39 people in Spain and Portugal since Sunday.

Hundreds of fires in both countries are being fanned by winds from Hurricane Ophelia in the north, currently barreling towards Ireland, and encouraged by extremely dry terrain from a scorching hot summer in the region.

Keep reading... Show less
Desperate for water, Puerto Ricans are resorting to any available sources, such as this stream in Cayey. Angel Valentin / NPR

Desperate Puerto Ricans Are Drinking Water From Hazardous Waste Sites

The ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee called for an investigation into the availability of potable water in Puerto Rico following reports Friday that residents are scrounging for water from hazardous waste sites.

After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed residents were trying to access water from three Superfund sites, and following a CNN story Friday featuring Puerto Ricans taking water from a fourth site, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote a letter to acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke asking if she knew about the situation and calling the reports "beyond disturbing."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Brant at Izembek Lagoon. Kristine Sowl / USFWS

Groups Slam Zinke's 'Backroom Deals' to Build Road Through Alaskan Wildlife Refuge

Ryan Zinke's Interior Department is working behind the scenes to build a controversial and long-contested road through the heart of Alaska's Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, documents show.

The refuge was established more than 30 years ago to conserve wetlands and habitats for migrating birds, brown bears and salmon and other wildlife. 300,000 of its 315,000 acres has been designated as Wilderness in 1980 under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

Keep reading... Show less
FAO / Giulio Piscitelli

On World Food Day, Pope Francis Says Link Between Climate Change and Hunger Is Undeniable

By Andrew McMaster

Speaking at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on World Food Day, Pope Francis addressed the need for governments around the world to acknowledge that climate change and migration were leading to increases in world hunger.

Francis received a standing ovation after a stirring speech in which he said all three issues were interrelated and require immediate attention.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

Get EcoWatch in your inbox