A joint venture between Mitsui & Co., Marubeni Corp., and SoftBank Corp.’s renewable energy unit won a contract to build transmission lines on Hokkaido to increase wind power capacity in a government pilot project.
Eurus Energy Holdings Corp., a Tokyo-based clean energy developer, was chosen for a separate contract for the same project, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said today in a statement.
“The project is intended to service and identify technical issues in areas that are suitable for wind power generation with weak transmission networks,” the ministry said.
METI will cover half of the total project costs, according to an application for the subsidy issued in September. The ministry has allocated 25 billion yen ($255 million) for the project for the year ending March 31, according to its website.
Japan is seeking to diversify its energy mix after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis. The country began an incentive program for clean energy in July 2012 which boosted mostly solar energy among the five types of renewables covered by the program. Solar plants typically require less time to build compared with wind and geothermal.
The joint venture comprising the two Japanese trading companies and SB Energy Corp., all based in Tokyo, will cover an area around Mashike town where wind capacity is estimated to be between 300 megawatts and 600 megawatts, according to the statement. Eurus Energy will be in charge of an area around Wakkanai, with wind potential of up to 1,400 megawatts.
Japan’s installed wind capacity is 2,614 megawatts, ranked 13th in the world, data from Global Wind Report 2012 by the Global Wind Energy Council show. China has the largest capacity of 75,324 megawatts followed by the U.S. with 60,007 megawatts.