Japanese utility Tokyo Electric Power has enshrined in its business plan ‘Vision 2020’ the goal of utilising floating wind turbines for power generation in the next decade. As a first step the plan calls for trials of seabed-mounted wind turbines.

Japan’s shoreline slopes quickly to depths of 100 m, so the types of seabed-mounted wind turbines used extensively in Europe are not necessarily appropriate. To exploit the strong offshore winds for power generation in the Kanto region, where it operates, Tepco plans to develop a type of floating wind turbine that can be anchored with multiple cables and send its power back to shore via an undersea power cable. The plan is to deploy these generators in a region extending to 10 km from the coastline.

Tepco is currently testing a 2 MW class seabed-mounted wind turbine that can be located in 11 m waters. It plans to deploy a combination of both types of generator.