Japan resumes offshore wind power auctions with revised rules

Japan has resumed public auctions for offshore wind power projects under revised rules aimed at encouraging a wider range of operators and accelerating the development of infrastructure.

The government has launched the second major round of auctions to select operators for four new areas capable of generating 1.8 GW of offshore wind power. The areas include the 356 MW offshore wind farm in Happo-Noshiro, which initially was put for auction last December, but the process was suspended in March 2022 after complaints from businesses about the lack of clarity around first-round bidding. Other areas are off Oga-Katagami-Akita (336 MW) and Murakami-Tainai (700 MW) in northern Japan and off Saikai (424 MW) in southwestern Japan. The auction runs until June 30, 2023, with the result expected in March 2024, though it could come next December if there is no scheduling clash between the two projects in Akita using the same port. Japan’s offshore wind power market is set to grow as the government has set a goal of installing up to 10 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, and up to 45 GW by 2040.