Deploying renewable energy massively will be key to achieve the 2050 goal of climate neutrality shared by the EU and Japan. In both regions, offshore wind is seen as one of the renewable sources with the highest growth potential. The European Commission estimates that 30% of electricity demand in Europe could be covered by offshore wind by 2050, while the Japanese government made offshore wind a pillar of its new Green Growth Strategy.
Europe is a leader: three out of the top five turbine manufacturers worldwide are based in Europe, and European companies represent 90% of the global market. Japan aims at becoming the third largest producer of offshore wind electricity by 2040, after Europe and China.
European and Japanese companies – from major firms of the energy, construction or trading sectors, to smaller suppliers and startups – already work together in several projects, in Europe and Japan. With the renewed ambitions of Europe and Japan for offshore wind energy, this cooperation can be expanded, to the benefit of an accelerated, cost-effective deployment. Deepening this cooperation requires a better mutual knowledge of the solutions developed by companies from both sides, the identification of fields of common interest such as floating offshore wind, and a better understanding of certification systems.
This event aimed at supporting further cooperation between European and Japanese stakeholders in offshore wind. It highlighted existing partnerships, helped companies from both sides to better know each other, and included a focus on two key topics: certification and conformity assessment of offshore wind technologies, and cost reduction of floating offshore wind.
Day 1 – Monday 26th April
Public policies and industrial development of offshore wind in the EU and Japan
Focus on certification and conformity assessment
Public policies and state of play of the offshore wind industry in Europe and Japan
In his opening remarks, Florian Ermacora, from the European Commission, highlighted the scale of ambitions regarding offshore wind energy in the EU from now on up to 2050 and the challenges it sets. He reminded us of the job potential for coastal communities due to a sustained increase in the deployment of offshore wind. The EU strategy on offshore renewable energy published in 2020 lays out the EU’s legal framework highlighting the facilitation of investments, promoting regional cooperation, planning auctions, supporting innovation, and securing supply chains. M. Ermacora affirmed the competitiveness of offshore wind energy attributed to policies such as zero-subsidy bids in Germany and The Netherlands, which have decreased auction prices.
Representing METI, Masaomi Koyama introduced Japan’s latest developments in offshore wind policy, from the adoption of the Wind Promotion Act in 2019 to the formulation of Japan’s Vision for offshore wind power in 2020. Within this framework, Japan sees offshore wind energy as a pillar of the Green Growth Strategy supporting the pathway to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As such, the industrial development of offshore wind energy appears as an illustration of the virtuous circle between environment protection and economy. Mr Koyama affirmed Japan’s intention to enhance its industrial competitiveness in this sector, and its willingness for further cooperation with European companies.
Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, introduced current and future trends in Europe’s offshore wind industry. According to the International Energy Agency, the number one source of electricity in Europe from around 2040 will be offshore wind. However, today, offshore wind only represents 3% of the electricity consumed in Europe. By 2030 offshore wind capacity is already likely to grow fivefold and employ around 300 thousand people in the offshore wind industry. Increases in capacity factors thanks to improvements in technology has driven down the costs auctions by 75% between 2014 and 2019. In the same vein, growth in the scale of deployment drives down the costs of auctions supported by policies such as contracts for difference.
Hitoshi Katayama, director of Japan Wind Power Association (JWPA), assessed prospects and roles of offshore wind energy in Japan following the capacity targets set by METI in 2020. To achieve this, private and public partnerships have been set up in Japan to make the domestic market more attractive, promote investments, review the regulatory framework and develop suitable technology. One topic highlighted by Mr Katayama was supply chain resilience, for which Japan has the industrial potential and financial infrastructure in place but lacks the know-how, expertise and experience. Accordingly, he affirmed an interest to work with European companies to build a solid basis from which a Japanese offshore wind industry can emerge.
After these four initial presentations, the moderator Sonja van Renssen opened a discussion with the speakers, allowing them to share their views about tender processes. They discussed how tenders can help upscale offshore wind, what the differences are in the tender processes between the EU and Japan, and how some basic principles could ideally apply both in the EU and Japan.
Examples of EU-Japan business cooperation in offshore wind
Andrew Ho, Head of Regulatory Affairs at Ørsted, gave a brief overview of his company’s experience in engaging in projects in Japan. In March 2020, Ørsted and Japan’s largest electricity company, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), formed a joint venture working towards a joint bid in the Choshi-city offshore wind promotion area. Mr. Ho introduced a new early partnership model for Japan and new markets overall, explaining that there is more value in coming at the development stage of a project bringing together the right experienced partners. This partnership model maximizes the project’s delivery on budget and on time.
Representing Sumitomo Corporation, Takashi Yanai gave a detailed outline of Sumitomo’s offshore wind business in Europe. With a total of 9 projects undertaken in Europe, Sumitomo has established connections in the European market, indicating its ambitions to further engage in long-term partnerships. As such, Mr Yanai expressed Sumitomo’s interests in participating in the early development stages of European projects for which strong partnerships with European firms are essential.
Solutions and technologies for offshore wind
In this session, two Japanese companies and two European companies introduced their latest solutions for offshore wind energy.
Representing NSK Motion & Control, Mr Etsuro Irie gave an overview of his companies bearing types for wind turbines. Additionally, he explained the solutions provided by NSK Motion & Control for bearing type failures. Ending his presentation, Mr Etsuro Irie explained the different technical services NSK can offer for offshore wind turbines.
Peter Esmann, senior product manager at turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa, introduced his company’s incremental learning process in developing direct drive technology. He highlighted three essential aspects of Siemens Gamesa’s products. A full-scale converter and transformer in nacelle makes the turbines faster to install. Additionally, with a permanent magnet direct drive generator, there is no need for a gearbox to be installed in the wind turbine. Lastly and importantly, IntegralBlade rotor design makes the blades lighter than the competition.
Shunsuke Maeda, from Mitsubishi Electric’s Energy System Solution Department, introduced his company’s activities in engineering, product development and technical services in offshore wind farms. As such, Mitsubishi Electric provides package solutions in its BLEnDer series that supports the innovative operation of power transmission and distribution networks in Japan.
Koos van Oord, director of offshore wind for Asia at maritime company Van Oord, then illustrated two concrete innovations that his company is willing to bring to the Japanese market. Firstly, with a slip joint connection, the top and bottom side of windmills can be slid together without the need for boulting underwater. This allows for a lighter monopile and a heavier transition peace, splitting the weight between the two parts of the foundation. Secondly, Van Oord’s eco-friendly scour protection enhances the growth of eco-systems around its monopiles. Lastly, Mr. van Oord stated his interest in engaging in long term collaboration with Japanese companies.
Conformity assessment and certification of offshore wind technologies and components: challenges and opportunities for EU-Japan cooperation
Martin Webhofer, Business Unit Manager Green Energy & Sustainability at TÜV SÜD, explained the purpose and scope of project certification. He explained that third-party certification assessment is not limited to wind turbines only but involves a wide range of aspects and stakeholders.
Ben Waldron, representing DNV, further expanded on TÜV SÜD’s presentation on international best practice approaches, focusing on how the system could be adapted to support the spread of offshore wind energy to new markets. The central theme that came up was risk reduction by certification bodies and the international standards they apply.
From the Japanese side, Sadao Akahoshi, from ClassNK, explained the laws and regulations governing the planning of offshore wind turbines in the sea in Japan. For each procedure, Mr. Akahoshi gave an overview of the types of certificates that are mandatory and what standards ClassNK’s services would apply in each situation.
Focussing on standardization and certification, Jun Hashimoto from The Japan Electric Manufacturers Association (JEMA) asserted that standardization enhances the competitiveness of offshore wind power through the international division of labour. Additionally, Mr. Hashimoto affirmed that open-source platforms will be promoted to extract the potential for producers and will encourage the entry of manufacturers of generators, converters, boosters, bearings and other components.
Lastly, Yusuke Fukunaga from the Coastal Development Institute of Technology outlined the conformity confirmation for mooring facilities provided by offshore wind power generation facilities.
These five presentations were followed by a panel discussion, during which speakers from the five certification organizations from Europe and Japan, joined by Ørsted and Mitsubishi Electric, shared views on the role conformity assessment to enable cost effective deployment of offshore wind, alignment between national and international standards, and how Japan and the EU could further exchange on these issues.
Day 2 – Wednesday 28th April | 9:00-11:00 CET / 16:00-18:00 JST
Floating turbines: tapping into a new potential of offshore wind energy
Perspectives for cooperation and cost reduction
Floating offshore wind: partnerships and demonstrators in Europe and Japan
As CEO of Stiesdal Offshore Technologies, Henrik Stiesdal’s main message was that an industrial approach to the floaters of wind turbines is currently missing. Evidence has shown that economies of scale are a primary driver in determining the cost of offshore wind projects. However, the design and construction of floaters for wind turbines remains both labour and cost-inefficient. As such, Mr. Stiesdal introduced a concept of modular floaters, named Tetra, aimed to increase the competitiveness of offshore wind turbines. Furthermore, with the inclusion of TEPCO Renewable Power in 2020 to the TetraSpar demonstration project in Europe, the delivery of this new concept holds a solid Japanese connection.
Atsushi Sasaki from NEDO’s Wind Power & Ocean Group, Energy Department, outlined NEDO’s advancement in offshore wind development projects, increasing both bottom-fixed and floating turbines. M. Sasaki expanded further on the objectives and achievements of NEDO’s offshore wind information system called NEOWins. Additionally, he explained current developments with regards to NEDO’s offshore Hibiki demonstrator set for 2021. By initiating this project with relevant stakeholders, NEDO can assess what is needed to be done to enhance Japan’s competitive advantage in floating offshore projects.
Representing Ocean Winds, a joint venture between Engie and EDPR, Pelayo Rodriguez gave a brief overview of the pre-commercial projects his company has undertaken with its offshore wind prototype WindFloat 1 in Portugal (with support from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank). Having gained experience from these projects, Ocean Winds identifies the four main challenges of undertaking projects alike in Japan: localisations of supply chains, manufacturing of foundations, offshore installation and electrical infrastructure and connection. Accordingly, Mr Rodriguez put forward three main priorities for Japan: reducing the cost of floating energy, localizing the supply chain and coexistence with fishing and local communities.
Satoshi Yajima from JERA gave a detailed outline of his company’s participation in offshore wind projects in Taiwan, the United Kingdom and Japan. By participating in bidding processes and offshore wind projects outside of Japan, JERA can gain knowledge and experience in both the construction and operation of offshore wind power generation. This approach echoes JERA’s goal of becoming a global leader in renewables and liquified natural gas by 2025. In this very vein, JERA proactively establishes the foundation in developing projects and engaging partnerships with European companies.
Floating offshore wind: solutions and technologies from Europe and Japan
Bruno Geschier, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, BW Ideol, represented the only floating wind technology company with two full-scale assets in operation in two strategic regions: Europe and Asia. In previous projects, the company has demonstrated a commitment toward local value-creation in local jobs for both its offshore deployments in France and Japan. Evidence from their projects has shown that using concrete as a material for offshore floaters allows reducing the cost of the deployment whilst creating more jobs.
Representing Japan Maritime Corporation, Haruki Yoshimoto gave an overview of the company’s activities, including shipbuilding and, since 1999, floating offshore wind. Under the guidance of the Japanese government, JMU developed, engineered, and constructed four floating windmills in Fukushima. By accumulating evidence in developing technologies and engineering methods for offshore wind projects since then, JMU developed a new concept of semi-submersible systems.
Hebert Peels, CEO of 2-B Energy, introduced his company’s 2BE technology consisting of three innovative technologies: down wind orientation, 2-bladed rotor and passive yaw. With the construction of their 2B6 turbine in the Netherlands, 2-B Energy has gained experience and knowledge in the construction and management of their technologies.
Representing Tokyo Rope, Toshiyuki Moriya, Head of Technical Development Division, outlined his company’s experience in developing services and cable technology products. Additionally, M. Moriya explained the applications for which Tokyo Rope’s products are suitable for wind power generation. These included: mooring of offshore wind turbines, corrosion resistance and shipping.
Floating offshore wind: bringing down the cost
Lizet Ramirez from WindEurope explained how Europe can deliver 7 gigawatts of floating offshore wind by 2030. She affirmed that economy of scale plays a crucial role in attaining this target, for which industrialization and mass production are necessary. There is still considerable potential to be tapped for floating offshore wind in Europe in this very vain.
Speaking on behalf of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), Hendrik Stiesdal gave insights that the market will continue to grow in the coming 20 years. He affirmed that Japan plays a prominent role as a tier-1 market in establishing the council’s vision, stressing both the potential and the needs of Japan. Together with the Japan Wind Power Association (JWPA), GWEC aims to address regulatory bottlenecks that stand in the way of unlocking Japan’s vast offshore wind power potential. Together they bring both local and industry players to share best practices, conduct studies and create enhanced stakeholder cooperation.
In his closing remarks, Kosuke Yanagida from METI commented on the high-level targets of both the EU and Japan regarding offshore wind development, and noted that enhanced future cooperation in offshore wind remains essential. This was confirmed by Matthieu Craye from DG ENER, who highlighted the potential for further interaction between Europe and Japan on several subjects such as cost reduction, transparency and public procurement.
This event is organized with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument. The opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the organizer and speakers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation
European Commission – DG ENER
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan