GWEC brings key stakeholders in Japan’s offshore wind market to the UK as part of Global Offshore Summit 2019
From the 24-28 June, GWEC hosted a large delegation of more than 40 members of the Japan Wind Power Association (JWPA) and the Ports & Harbors Association of Japan (PHAJ). JWPA members own and operate about 85% of wind farms in Japan; following the Japanese offshore promotion law that came into effect in April 2019, they are now looking ahead to both fixed and floating offshore wind projects. With more than 29,750 km of coastline – the seventh longest coastline in the world – Japan is an increasingly promising market for offshore wind in the Asia-Pacific.
The Japanese delegation was one of three major trade delegations at GOW, in addition to groups from China and Taiwan. JWPA members were invited to present at the Global Markets Theatre, including Shigeru Yasu, Chairman of Japan Renewable Energy Corporation, on offshore wind power in Japan, as well as Naoaki Eguchi, Partner at Baker McKenzie in Tokyo, on the new offshore wind promotion law in Japan. PHAJ senior researcher Eiji Nishizaki also participated in a panel session on promising global markets for offshore wind, moderated by GWEC CEO Ben Backwell.
A panel session, jointly organised by GWEC and the UK Department for International Trade (DIT), gave prominent sector leaders the opportunity to share their insights on upscaling Japan’s offshore wind sector to the delegation. Chaired by GWEC Global Offshore Wind Ambassador Henrik Stiesdal, the panel included Chris Willow, Floating Wind Growth Manager at Innogy, Rhodri James, Leading Business Developer at Equinor UK, Cian Conroy, Senior Manager at Principle Power, Samuel Leupold, Chairman of Wind Energy at Green Investment Group, and Bruce Valpy, Managing Director at consultancy BVG Associates.
GWEC also organised a programme of tours and local supply chain visits relevant to the UK offshore wind sector. The delegation took a fleet of boats out to view Burbo Bank offshore wind farm, developed by Orsted. The group was fortunate to have calm waters, which allowed them to view the first commercially deployed offshore 8MW turbines at close range. Afterwards, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority hosted the delegation for presentations by Mark Knowles, Head of Low Carbon Economy at the Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership, Emma Toulson, Lead Stakeholder Adviser at Orsted, Stephen Bolton, CEO of Bibby Marine Services, and Chris Almond, Business Development Manager at Bibby HydroMap.
The delegation also travelled by coach and ferry to the Isle of Wight, where they toured the MHI Vestas blade manufacturing facility and enjoyed a presentation on the evolution of offshore turbine blades. They also spent a half-day at HR Wallingford near Oxford, with the opportunity to tour a modelling hall and a ship simulator demonstration centre, and to hear presentations on fixed bottom offshore wind services, metocean modelling and floating structure modelling. Finally, the delegation heard presentations on cost reduction solutions and joint industry programmes from Steve Wyatt, Research and Innovation Director at ORE Catapult, and from a number of Carbon Trust principals including David Aitken, Associate Director of Innovation, Faizi Freemantle, Associate of Offshore Wind, Dan Kyle Spearman, Manager of Offshore Wind Accelerator, and Liam Leahy, Offshore Manager.
Over the course of a week, the Japanese delegation travelled more than 1,300 km around the UK by coach, ferry and fishing boat, seeing first-hand the technological breakthroughs and transformations brought to the UK by offshore wind. The lessons learned – in collaboration, competition, scale and ambition – may serve to accelerate the growth of Japan’s offshore wind sector in years to come.