Japan has entered a partnership with the US to reduce the costs associated with offshore floating wind projects.

The collaboration was announced during Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to Washington, where he met with US President Joe Biden.

The White House released a statement confirming Japan as the first international partner in the US Floating Offshore Wind Shot initiative.

The two nations will focus on expediting advancements in sectors including engineering and manufacturing, which are crucial to the development of floating wind farms.

Tokyo has committed to allocating Y120bn from its Green Innovation Fund to advance floating wind technology.

The White House said in a statement: “We intend to work together towards global ambition in line with the Wind Shot, taking into consideration national circumstances, through the Clean Energy and Energy Security Initiative to pursue innovative breakthroughs that drive down technology costs, accelerate decarbonisation and deliver benefits for coastal communities.”

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The Floating Offshore Wind Technology Research Association (FLOWRA), recently launched by Japan, has been welcomed by the US.

FLOWRA aims to lower the costs and facilitate mass production of floating offshore wind by leveraging collaborative efforts with academic institutions.

The Floating Offshore Wind Shot, announced in September 2022, is spearheaded by US departments including the Department of Energy and the Departments of the Interior, Commerce and Transportation.

Wind Shot’s plan includes a goal to slash the cost of floating offshore wind installations in deep waters by more than 70% to $45 per megawatt-hour (MWh) within the next ten years.

The US has set an ambitious target to install 15GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2035.

This capacity is expected to supply electricity to more than five million homes, marking a significant step towards reducing reliance on fossil fuels and combatting climate change.

In Japan, floating offshore wind technology is new, with previous state auctions for offshore wind farms having focused solely on bottom-fixed structures.

March 2024 saw a consortium of Japanese energy companies including Mitsubishi Corp’s wind power unit, Tokyo Gas and JERA, coming together to develop floating offshore wind technology.

Other consortium members are Nippon Telegraph and Telephone’s energy unit, Tohoku Electric Power, Kansai Electric Power and the Marubeni Corporation’s wind power unit.

Japan aims to establish itself as a leading offshore wind power producer, with government targets of 10GW by 2030 and up to 45GW by 2040.