A floating wind turbine built off Fukushima Prefecture to symbolize recovery after the 2011 nuclear disaster will be removed, a government source said Friday.
The offshore power facility was put in place as the Fukushima prefectural government introduced renewable energy after the triple reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the days following the huge earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.
Experimental studies were conducted with a view toward commercialization but the turbine, one of the world’s largest with a rotor diameter of 167 meters, was deemed unprofitable due to multiple malfunctions decreasing the utilization rate.
“At present, we are considering a method of removal because the maintenance cost is too high,” said the government source.
The turbine is one of three on a floating wind farm 20 kilometers off the coast of Naraha city in Fukushima Prefecture.
The cost of removal of the 15.2 billion yen ($135 million) turbine with an output capacity of 7,000 kilowatts is expected to be around 10 percent of the building cost.
Studies on the two other turbines are planned to conclude in fiscal 2018, but the study period is expected to be extended to seek any possibility of commercialization.
The turbine started operating in December 2015 but was riddled with operating problems.
Its utilization rate over the year through June 2018 was 3.7 percent, well below the 30 percent necessary for commercialization.
The two other turbines, of different size, have utilization rates of 32.9 percent and 18.5 percent.