Fri, Feb 28, 2014 - Page 15 News List

GE sees great potential for wind power in Japan


General Electric Co (GE) considers Japan ripe for new investment in wind power as the resource-poor country diversifies energy supply in the wake of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster almost three years ago.

To that end, GE has developed a 2.85 megawatt turbine for Japan that is designed to withstand conditions unique to the country. It is said to be capable of surviving typhoon-strength winds, turbulent conditions and lighting strikes common in the nation.

“As you look at Japan and how we think about the energy mix in Japan, overall energy diversity is key,” Anne McEntee, chief executive officer of renewable energy at GE Power & Water, said at a conference on Wednesday in Tokyo where she outlined the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company’s approach to Japan.

While Japan is burning more coal and natural gas to make up for power shortages after the disaster at Fukushima, McEntee said there is more potential to develop clean energy.

“We see an opportunity, and that opportunity is in renewables” that require no fuels and cause no carbon dioxide emissions, she said.

GE and its rivals are pushing Japan to stimulate the wind industry, which has received little new investment even though incentives for the technology were introduced in July 2012. In comparison, solar power has boomed.

GE has the second-largest share of the Japanese market in terms of cumulative installed wind capacity after Vestas Wind Systems AS, a Danish turbine maker, according to the Japan Wind Power Association.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, which announced an offshore wind venture with Vestas in September last year, ranks third.

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