Shulman Advisory

Japan plans Offshore Wind Power Development in Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

Japan is accelerating its efforts to develop offshore wind power as an essential means to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and ensure energy security. The government aims to introduce 10GW of offshore wind power by 2030 and 45GW by 2040. To achieve the 2040 target, annual construction of 2 to 3GW (more than double the current capacity) will be necessary after 2030. This will require large tracts of ocean, so discussions have begun to create a framework for launching gigawatt-scale projects in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which is ten times the size of Japan itself.

The discussions are being led by the Cabinet Office’s Headquarters for Ocean Policy, given the diverse range of issues involved – from bidding systems to fishery regulations. The Cabinet Office plans to position the floating offshore wind turbines as “facilities and structures” under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and will review the domestic legal framework. It also launched an expert panel meeting to consider how to designate candidate areas and the criteria for selecting project operators. Specifically, the group will focus on:

  • Positioning of offshore wind power generation in international law
  • Range of sovereign rights and jurisdiction
  • Establishment of safety zones
  • Consideration of the rights of other countries
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Necessity of prior notification and disclosure to relevant countries

Concurrently, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) will discuss the issue at their Offshore Wind Power Promotion Working Group and Subcommittee meetings, focusing on establishing designated areas and the process of selecting operators.

An offshore windfarm is built off Nagasaki Prefecture (Photo obtained by Nikkei). Japan aims to extend offshore wind power into its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) beyond territorial waters, seeking carbon neutrality and bolstering energy security amid the conflict in Ukraine.

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Publication date: December 1, 2023

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