Regional Development and Employment Creation by Establishing a Base for the Offshore Wind Energy Industry

Author Name IWAMOTO Koichi (Senior Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. February 2016 16-P-004
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This paper is the compilation of lectures I have delivered across Japan since Offshore Wind Generation (written by Koichi Iwamoto and published by Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Ltd. in December 2012) was published. It mainly analyzes the questions of "What benefits will offshore wind generation bring to the local economy?" and "Will offshore wind generation offer business that my company can get?" because these questions are of more importance to the local economy than discussions on the power market and trends in nuclear power. Because people are not necessarily given an accurate picture of offshore wind generation in Japan, I frequently deliver lectures from a common sense viewpoint shared in the international society. Technological innovation in the field of wind power is impressive. For example, the Walney Offshore Wind Generation Plant, which is located 35 km offshore of northwestern Great Britain and which will be supplied with turbines with an output of 8 MW by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark, has a generation capacity of 1,020,000 kW. Therefore, for the first time ever, a wind generation plant with a generation capacity exceeding one million kW will soon begin operating. The cumulative installed capacity of worldwide wind generation was about 415 million kW at the end of 2015, exceeding the installed capacity of nuclear generation. Additionally, an industrial cluster of wind generation creates numerous employment opportunities. In fact, Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven of Germany, Esbjerg of Denmark, and Green Port Hull of Great Britain are attracting wide attention as emerging industrial clusters. Therefore, I have emphasized in my lectures that wind generation is the new leading power source in the world. In Japan, construction of large-scale bases for the wind power industry is under way in areas such as the Hibikinada district of Kitakyushu, Ishikari Bay New Port area in Hokkaido, and Akita. Chiefly, the large project in Kitakyushu is on par with those in Europe, and Kitakyushu is working on this citywide project that greatly benefits its economy. Lastly, I will discuss the importance of the zoning rule and make a proposal regarding the matter.