Japan plans to install up to 45 GW of offshore wind power by 2040

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan plans to install as much as 45 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power by 2040, the country’s industry ministry said on Wednesday as the government aims to reduce emissions and meet a target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The plans, if followed through on, would make Japan a global leader in offshore wind. They create targets for offshore wind capacity over the next two decades, which could spur more investment in the sector.

“It is important for the government to commit to the creation of an attractive domestic market and to stimulate investment from home and abroad,” industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama told a meeting of government officials and private companies, according to a ministry statement.

The government passed legislation in 2018 designed to promote offshore wind development, but no major projects have been approved since then and some industry participants say that the rules for investment and regulations are too complicated.

The government is now targeting 10 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and between 35 GW and 45 GW by 2040, the ministry said.

It expects the cost of electricity from offshore wind projects to be between 8 and 9 yen (7.7-8.7 U.S. cents) per kilowatt hour over a 30-35 year period.

The government plans to be involved from the planning stages of projects and a demonstration project will be started next year, it said. The government will also require equipment from domestic suppliers to account for 60% of a project.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in October that Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest greenhouse gas emitter, would aim for carbon-neutrality by 2050, in a major shift in position.

(GRAPHIC: Japan's energy mix - )

Reporting by Ritsuko Shimizu; Writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Pravin Char