Fukushima offshore wind farms to be dismantled

From The Japan Times:

The government said Thursday it will remove the two remaining wind power turbines it installed off Fukushima Prefecture citing lack of profit in the project, which cost ¥60 billion ($580 million).

The project was widely seen as a symbol of the reconstruction of the northeastern prefecture following the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.

The decision came despite Japan’s goal of raising its offshore wind power generation to up to 45 gigawatts in 2040 from a mere 20,000 kilowatts at present as part of efforts to fight climate change. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

At a meeting in Fukushima, industry ministry officials briefed fishermen and other participants about the plan, with local people saying the government had wasted taxpayers’ money and should conduct a thorough study of why the project had failed.

In June, the government removed one of the three turbines installed 20 kilometers off the town of Naraha. It has decided to remove the remaining two in the fiscal year starting April.

The three turbines were constructed in stages from 2012 to support the local economy by creating a new industry based on renewable energy.

To commercialize wind power generation, the operational rate of a turbine must remain at 30% to 35% or more, according to the ministry.

But the rates of the turbines off Fukushima had been around 4% to 36%, according to trading house Marubeni Corp., which participated in the project.”

Germany also gave us a wonderful case study on how its renewables based energy system has backfired spectacularly. 

In 2007, Germany forecasted that 2020 residential electricity prices would be approximately 16 Eurocents with the shift to renewables away from nuclear. Today they trade at c.31 Eurocents. Der Spiegel, a normally left-leaning journal wrote in a two-part series. 

Part 1 – Germany Failure on the Road to a Renewable Future

“But the sweeping idea has become bogged down in the details of German reality. The so-called Energiewende, the shift away from nuclear in favour of renewables, the greatest political project undertaken here since Germany’s reunification, is facing failure. In the eight years since Fukushima, none of Germany’s leaders in Berlin have fully thrown themselves into the project, not least the chancellor. Lawmakers have introduced laws, decrees and guidelines, but there is nobody to coordinate the Energiewende, much less speed it up. And all of them are terrified of resistance from the voters, whenever a wind turbine needs to be erected or a new high-voltage transmission line needs to be laid out.”

Germany’s Federal Court of Auditors is even more forthright about the failures. The shift to renewables, the federal auditors say, has cost at least 160 billion euros in the last five years. Meanwhile, the expenditures “are in extreme disproportion to the results, Federal Court of Auditors President Kay Scheller said last fall, although his assessment went largely unheard in the political arena. Scheller is even concerned that voters could soon lose all faith in the government because of this massive failure.

But never let that get in the way of feeling good about saving the planet.

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