Being designated by the Japanese government as a main power source, new policies to proactively promote renewable energy have been adopted in Japan. Among several renewable energy sources, offshore wind power generation has attracted the most attention because, while the lands suitable for land wind power are limited, Japanese waters offer relatively favorable offshore sites for offshore wind power generation, and thus it is necessary for Japan to introduce wind power generation using such offshore sites (cf. the 5th Basic Energy Plan approved by the Cabinet on July 3, 2018). More specifically, Japan intends to introduce offshore wind power generation of up to 10 million kW by the year 2030.
At present, the sea areas where offshore wind power generation is actually implemented or planned to be implemented are divided into “Port and Harbor Areas” (cf. Paragraphs 3 and 6, Article 2 of the Port and Harbor Act) and “General Sea Areas.”
With regard to “Port and Harbor Areas,” in accordance with the public tender process for the exclusive occupancy and use of sea areas under the amended Port and Harbor Act enacted in July 2016 (cf. Article 37-3 of the Act), it is required that the business plan for an offshore wind power generation facility is approved through a public tender process. On the other hand, with regard to General Sea Areas, upon the enactment of the “Act on Promoting the Utilization of Sea Areas in Development of Power Generation Facilities Using Marine Renewable Energy Resources” on April 1, 2019 (“APUSA”), standard rules for the long-term exclusive occupancy and use of such areas for offshore wind power generation have been established, based on which business plans for offshore wind power generation are currently developed with respect to several sea areas.
The recent major developments in offshore wind power generation in Japan are as summarized in the table below:
(a) June 16, 2020: Announcement of the plan for the designation of three areas in Akita Prefecture and the offshore area of Choshi City, Chiba Prefecture, as promoted areas for offshore wind power generation
(b) June 24, 2020: Commencement of the public tender process for the offshore area of Goto City, Nagasaki Prefecture and announcement of the public comments procedure regarding the guidelines for exclusive occupancy and use through said public tender process, etc.
(c) July 3, 2020: Adjustment of ten areas which have already been at certain stage of preparation, as well as four promising areas subject to the preparation of organizing the commissions therefor, etc.
(d) July 21, 2020: Designation of three areas in Akita Prefecture and the offshore area of Choshi City, Chiba Prefecture as promoted areas for offshore wind power generation
(e) August 31, 2020: First designation of the port as the base for offshore wind power generation
(f) September 10, 2020: Commencement to accept the applications for information disclosure under Paragraph 2, Article 4 of the APUSA with regard to the three areas in Akita Prefecture and the offshore area of Choshi City, Chiba Prefecture
(g) September 18, 2020: Commencement of the procedure to collect public comments regarding the draft guidelines for the exclusive occupancy and use through public tender process regarding the three areas in Akita Prefecture and the offshore area of Choshi City, Chiba Prefecture
Among those items, for item (c), the following sea areas were listed as promising areas: Sea of Japan offshore Aomori Prefecture (North side); Sea of Japan offshore Aomori Prefecture (South side); the respective offshore area of Happo-cho and Noshiro City in Akita Prefecture; and the offshore area of Enoshima, Saikai City, Nagasaki Prefecture.