|April 20, 2009|
Japan - Wind Energy Sector
|1. Sector Overview |
Japan is the world’s second largest economy with a population of over 127 million people, making it one of the world’s top energy consumers. It has made a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions by 6% by 2012. In order to reach this goal, it is critical that Japan reinforce its sources of renewable energy by developing domestic renewable energy technologies and operations.
Currently, Japan imports most of its energy inputs. In addition to its import of large amounts of coal and uranium, Japan is the world’s third largest crude oil importer, behind the U.S. and China.
Numerous Japanese companies such as those identified in this overview, are currently involved in renewable energy projects and activities both domestically and abroad. These companies have the expertise and know-how to successfully expand into other countries, such as Canada, whether by providing consulting services for business development, developing alliances with Canadian companies, or investing in renewable energy projects.
The wind energy industry in Japan is not experiencing the positive growth that the solar power industry has seen. Japan ranks 13 th in the world in terms of installed wind-power generating capacity, accounting for only 1.6% of the global total. Moreover, growth in Japan’s wind energy industry growth has lagged far behind the 30% annual global average.
This is attributable to a variety of issues. Notably, finding locations in Japan that can adequately support wind power generation facilities is difficult. Typhoons, lighting and storms are commonplace, while Japan is surrounded by water of great depth, which is a substantial restricting factor given the current state of off-shore wind-power generation technology. Moreover, efficient generation of wind energy requires locations with stable and strong winds. In Japan, such locations are usually located in mountainous terrain, making wind farm development difficult if not impossible, as the land formations in these areas are difficult to plot. Finally, due to recent changes in the Japan Building Code, wind turbines over a certain height are now classified as buildings. This implies the need for government approval prior to construction, which constitutes a further administrative barrier to new projects.
Although the Japanese government now requires and encourages electricity companies to leverage the use of renewable energy, the targets set by the government are quite small in comparison to those of other nations.
Japanese Wind Power Companies
Eurus Energy Holdings
Eurus Energy Holdings is a partially owned subsidiary of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). As one of the world’s largest wind power suppliers, Eurus has wind energy projects operating in 7 countries including Japan, USA, South Korea, the UK, Spain, and Italy.
In June 2008, Eurus Energy also entered the photovoltaic business, opening its first plant in South Korea. Eurus Energy was previously known as Tomen Power Holdings Corporation.
Eurus Energy focuses most of its efforts on developing wind farms overseas rather than in Japan. In Japan, including the anticipated output from wind farms under development, its production capacity is 420.24 MW, in comparison to the cumulative 1,491 MW expected output on a global scale.
Eurus Energy’s Canadian Connection
Eurus Energy currently has no connection to Canada. However, Eurus Energy owns and operates three wind farms in the US, with a cumulative wind energy generating capacity of approximately 343 MW.
Japan Wind Development Co.
Japan Wind Development Company Ltd. was incorporated in 1999. This company develops wind farms as well as wind power generating-technologies. The company develops wind farms within Japan, as well as overseas.
Japan Wind Development Company’s Canadian Connection
Similarly to Eurus Energy, Japan Wind Development Company does not currently have any ties to Canada, however it does operate overseas wind farms in Germany and Britain.
J-Power (Electric Power Development Company) has started the development of the largest wind farm in Japan, located in Fukushima prefecture. It is expected to generate 660 MW, from 33 wind turbines. 100% of the power generated will be sold to Tokyo Electric Power Company Ltd. J-Power operates nine wind farms in various locations within Japan, and recently sold a portion of its holdings in a wind power company located in Spain.
J-Power is involved in several overseas projects and activities including wind power projects in Russia, Kazakhstan, and the Philippines.
J-Power’s Canadian Connection
Despite its international experience in wind farm development and operations, J-Power does not currently conduct any wind energy business with Canada.
Eco-Power Company Ltd. is a subsidiary of Ebara Corporation. As of March 2006, the company operates 109 wind farms across Japan, mostly in coastal areas.
Eco-Power’s Canadian Connection
Eco-Power is focused on domestic wind farm development, and currently does not operate any wind farms overseas.
Clean Energy Factory Co.
Clean Energy Factory Company Ltd. was established in 2000, and is based in Hokkaido prefecture. Clean Energy operates domestic wind farms, with its first wind farm constructed in Nemuro, Hokkaido. 100% of output is sold to the Hokkaido Electric Power Company.
Clean Energy Factory Company’s Canadian Connection
Clean Energy Factory Company is focused on domestic wind farm development, and currently does not operate any wind farms overseas.
Japan’s Wind Equipment Manufacturing Companies
Hitachi Ltd. / Hitachi Canadian Industries
Hitachi’s subsidiary, Hitachi Canadian Industries was established in 1988. In 2002, Hitachi Canadian Industries expanded into the wind energy business when it secured a contract to manufacture wind towers for SaskPower’s Cypress Wind Power Facility. As the only division within Hitachi involved in wind energy, Hitachi Canadian Industries manufactures wind turbine systems, including wind towers for both small and large-scale wind developments.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is the largest wind turbine manufacturer in Japan. It manufactured the country’s largest wind turbine, located in Yokohama. Mitsubishi has experienced significant strength in sales to the US as the demand for clean energy continues to increase.
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.
Fuji Heavy Industries is also involved in the wind turbine manufacturing industry. It develops and manufactures large-scale wind turbine systems. Recently, the company has developed an innovative wind turbine that leverages vertical wind flows from the ground.
Fuji Heavy Industries’ Canadian Connection
Fuji Heavy Industries Wind Division does not have any relations with Canada.
Japan Steel Works
Japan Steel Works offers a full-service package for wind turbine, including the manufacturing of wind towers, hubs, and blades, as well as installation and maintenance. Japan Steel Works is interested in entering the international market, while focusing on bolstering their manufacturing capacity of wind turbines to three times the current level.
Japan Steel Works’ Canadian Connection
Japan Steel Works has worked on Canadian projects, such as an Athabasca Oil Sands project in Alberta, via a partnership with Kobe Steel Company, however has not yet had any wind energy related activity in Canada. Japan Steel Works currently has offices in the US.
As a major trading company, Marubeni Corporation possesses a diverse portfolio of business segments, including food, forest products, and energy. Marubeni has experience in renewable energy projects including wind and solar energy, with domestic and international investments. It owns and operates a wind farm in South Korea, and has invested in a wind farm project in California.
Marubeni’s Canadian Connection
Marubeni has offices in Vancouver and Toronto, Canada. Although it is involved in several projects in Canada it is currently not participating in any wind energy related ones.
Japan’s second largest trading company, Mitsui and Company Ltd., is involved in a series of business segments including iron and steel products, marine and aerospace, energy businesses including oil, petroleum refinery, liquid natural gas, as well as wind, solar and biomass. Mitsui has invested in wind farm development projects in Japan, Europe, US, and in 2008 acquired shares for a wind development venture in Australia.
Mitsui’s Canadian Connection
Mitsui has invested in a liquid natural gas project in Ontario and Toyota Canada for the importation of automobiles and parts. However, Mitsui currently has no interests in wind energy projects within Canada.
Events in Japan
Events in Asia
Canadian Government Contacts
Embassy of Canada in Tokyo, Japan