Japan Minister Urges Scaling Back of Eurus Hokkaido Wind Project

  • Wildlife concerns prompt rethink of development’s size
  • Projects originally designed with 800MW of combined capacity

Koichi Yamamoto, Japan’s environment minister, is urging the planners of a wind development on the northern island of Hokkaido to scale back the project out of concern for how the plan would affect rare birds found in the area.

Tokyo-based Eurus Energy Holdings Corp., along with Wakkanai Green Factory Co., is planning seven wind projects with a combined capacity of about 800 megawatts in Wakkanai City and the town of Toyotomi, according to Eurus spokeswoman Mitsue Usami.

Some of the turbines planned for the projects should not be installed in areas where collisions with sea eagles are possible, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the ministry. The developers should also consider setting limits on the hours when the turbines can operate in migratory areas or whether some of the turbines should be installed at all, the ministry said.

Eurus is considering what measures need to be taken in response to the minister’s opinions, Usami said. The total size of the projects may be reduced to about 600 megawatts if the developers decide not to install turbines in areas pointed out by the minister, she said.

While Japan’s environment minister is able to express a view on individual projects, approval responsibility ultimately lies with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Meanwhile, Eurus continues to work on a trade-ministry supported project to build transmission lines in Hokkaido. The seven wind projects are designed to take advantage of the grid program, according to Eurus’s Usami.

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