In the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the country’s nuclear power plants, Japan has decided to go in a completely different direction with its energy policy.
This July, construction will begin on what will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The farm will consist of 143 wind turbines, which in total will generate 1 gigawatt of renewable power for the country. Construction is expected to be completed by the year 2020. This farm will be located 16 kilometers off of the coast of Fukushima, which is home to the widely publicized Daiichi nuclear reactor. This reactor was badly damaged during the tsunami, and is still not functional today.
The tsunami of 2011 forced the shutdown of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors. To date, only two have resumed operations.
As everyone in the United States is aware, Congress recently passed a bill to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff”, a situation in which steep automatic spending cuts and tax hikes would have taken place January first. While the bill is a short-term measure in regards to these main objectives, the deal also had a lot of other legislation packed into it. One of these things is of particular interest to the Wind Energy sector, the Production Tax Credit.
The Production Tax Credit (PTC) is a huge money saver for Wind Energy companies. It allows them to invest in new wind farms and add wind turbines all across the country for a fraction of the price it would otherwise cost. When the PTC has been in place in previous years, the wind energy industry saw some of it’s biggest gains in capacity and productivity.