In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, Japan is preparing to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The plan is to build 143 wind turbines 16 kilometers off the coast of Fukushima by 2020, which will generate 1 gigawatt of power once completed.
This is part of Japan’s plan to increase renewable energy resources following the shutdown of all 54 nuclear reactors, with a goal of becoming completely energy self-sufficient by 2040.
The first part of the construction will involve 2-megawatt turbines, a substation, and undersea cable installation. Additional turbines may be added over time depending on funding, and will be built on buoyant steel frames anchored to the continental shelf surrounding the Japanese coast.
Once the wind farm is ready to go, it is expected to supply electricity to Fukushima’s grid that was previously connected to two nuclear power plants. The team has carried out several computer simulations to ensure the safety of placing turbines in an area with high seismic activity.
The current largest wind farm in the world is the Greater Gabbard farm off the coast of Suffolk, UK, generating 504 megawatts of energy. When the London Array farm goes up in the Thames Estuary, it will produce 630 megawatts and take the lead. Once the Fukushima farm is up, it will surpass both of these and take the top spot. That is, until someone else decides to go even bigger.
Image CC licensed by Maria Keays: Offshore wind farm in the Thames estuary, UK.