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1. Resumption of Offshore Wind Power Auctions
On 28 December 2022 the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) opened the second round of auction bids under the Marine Renewable Energy Facilities Act. This round invites bids for the operation of large-scale offshore wind power projects in four sea areas around the coast of Japan (Happo-Noshiro in Akita, Oga-Katagami-Akita city in Akita, Murakami-Tainai in Niigata, and Saikai in Nagasaki).
Bidding for offshore wind power projects is resuming after a hiatus of around one year, as bidding has been suspended since the selection of operators for the first auction round in December 2021.
2. Marine Renewable Energy Facilities Act and the System for Selecting Operators
The Marine Renewable Energy Facilities Act was enacted in 2018 in order to promote the development of offshore wind power generation facilities in Japan.
Under the bidding process, the Government designates "Promotion Areas", which are sea areas that are deemed appropriate for offshore wind power generation projects, based on the area’s environmental condition and other factors. It then selects an operator to develop such promotion areas through an auction process. The winning bidder receives a permit to occupy the promotion area for a maximum of 30 years, and may then develop an offshore wind power generation project in the area (up to the limits stipulated in the auction conditions).
The first selection of operators under the Marine Renewable Energy Facilities Act took place in June 2021 for the floating wind farm off Goto city in Nagasaki (output: 16.8MW). Following this, operators for the three sea areas of Noshiro-Mitane-Oga in Akita (output: 478.8MW), Yurihonjo in Akita (output: 819MW), and Choshi in Chiba (output: 390.6MW) were selected on 24 December 2021 in what has become known as the “first round” of bidding.
In the first round, all three bids were won by consortiums led by Mitsubishi Corporation Energy Solutions Ltd., a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation.
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