(EnergyAsia, April 25 2012, Wednesday) — A Japanese consortium led by Marubeni Corp has started work to develop an experimental offshore floating wind farm project off the coast of Fukushima, the site of the nculear plant that was damaged by earthquake and tsunami last year.

Sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the project consists of three floating wind turbines and one floating power sub-station. The consortium will build a 2MW floating wind turbine, the world’s first 66kV floating power sub-station and undersea cable in the first stage, to be followed by two 7MW wind turbines in the second stage between 2013 and 2015.

The consortium’s other members are the University of Tokyo, Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, IHI Marine United, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Nippon Steel, Hitachi, Furukawa Electric, Shimizu and Mizuho Information & Research.

In a statement, the consortium said Fukushima Prefecture expects the project to spawn a new industry in renewable energy and create employment as part of its recovery efforts following the devastaton of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

One of the project’s key objectives is to ensure the harmonious co-existence of the fishery industry with the offshore wind farm industry. The consortium said it will work hard to build good relations with the local fishery industry while commercialising this offshore wind farm project.

Longer term, it aims to create and deploy large scale floating wind farms, first for use in Japan, and later, for export to world markets.