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GE and Toshiba Partner for Japanese Offshore Wind Market

GE positions with Toshiba for Japanese offshore wind market
Prototype for the Haliade-X wind turbine (GE Renewable Energy)

Published May 11, 2021 6:32 PM by The Maritime Executive

Companies are positioning themselves to prepare for the upcoming auctions for portions of the lucrative Japanese offshore wind market. In the latest move, GE Renewable Energy, manufacturer of the most powerful wind turbine on the market, and Toshiba Energy Systems and Solutions Corporation signed a strategic partnership agreement to localize critical phases of the manufacturing process of GE’s offshore wind turbine and to support its commercialization in Japan.

The Japanese government in 2020 outlined ambitious plans to grow the country’s offshore wind capacity to generate 10 GW this decade with tenders for 1 GW per year. By 2040, Japan expects to have between 30 and 45 GW of offshore wind power installed. The plan calls for a combination of fixed bottom and floating offshore wind turbines. The government believes the projects will also build a strong domestic supply chain for the industry.

Bidding on a first demonstration project for floating offshore wind was opened last year. As a next step, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism are currently jointly running bidding for four sites to be developed as fixed bottom offshore wind. The first of the contracts are expected to be awarded later this year.

According to the companies, they believe their new strategic partnership will position them to contribute to and benefit from the success of offshore wind in Japan. They also believe that it will help GE’s offshore wind technology to be more competitive in upcoming auctions in Japan.

Mamoru Hatazawa, President & CEO of Toshiba Energy Systems and Solutions Corporation, said, “GE’s Haliade-X is the most powerful offshore wind turbine built and helps to make offshore wind a more cost-effective and competitive source of clean energy. Through this strategic alliance, Toshiba will actively participate in offshore wind projects by supplying reliable products and contribute to the spread of renewable energy in Japan.”

As part of the strategic partnership, GE will provide the technology, parts, and components for nacelle assembly of its Haliade-X wind turbines, and support Toshiba in jointly developing a local supply chain as well as completing assembly of the nacelles. Toshiba will assemble, warehouse, transport Haliade-X nacelles, provide preventative maintenance services, and have sales and commercial responsibilities for the Japanese market.

John Lavelle, President & CEO, Offshore Wind at GE Renewable Energy, noted that Toshiba’s local manufacturing capabilities, experience in the energy sector, and outstanding reputation in the market make them an invaluable strategic partner. “Together, we are well-positioned to support Japan’s ambitions to be a leader in renewable energy and offshore wind in particular,” said Lavelle.

GE is currently developing the Halliade-X to be the most powerful wind turbine on the market. The company has demonstrated a 12MW version and is offering 13MV and 14MW designs. The unit has a 720-foot rotor using blades that measure over 350 feet. The prototype was demonstrated in the Netherlands in November 2019 and the design has been selected for large wind installations including in the U.S. and U.K.