*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.
Friday, November 27, 2020
Press Conference Room, METI
Offshore Wind Power Generation
Q: I would like to ask about offshore wind power generation. Today, a working group meeting under the Green Innovation Strategy Meeting will be held to discuss various pathways toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Among the various available renewable energy sources that the government is promoting, offshore wind power is being promoted with the establishment of promotion areas. A call for potential operators will begin shortly for target areas of Chiba and Akita Prefectures. In light of this situation, what are your expectations for offshore wind power generation?
A: Offshore wind power is one of the key areas for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Based on its potential for mass introduction, room for cost reduction, and the size of the economic externalities, we consider it to be a key to instituting renewable energy as a major power source.
So far, we have been continually formulating projects based on the “Act on Promoting the Utilization of Sea Areas for the Development of Marine Renewable Energy Power Generation Facilities” (hereinafter the “Act”) and enhancing competitiveness through the Public-Private Council.
Today, on the afternoon of November 27, in accordance with the Act, we will commence the first public call for potential operators of offshore wind power generation facilities with seafloor-mounted windmills for three promotion areas in Akita and Chiba Prefectures. The ongoing project in Nagasaki Prefecture is being implemented with floating windmills, so these projects announced today represent the first projects featuring seafloor-mounted windmills.
While continuing to demonstrate the developments and achievements of these specific projects, we will make further efforts to expand investment and strengthen competitiveness by improving the business environment through the Public-Private Council.
Q: I would like to ask two questions about the treatment of contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
Firstly, you mentioned at a past press conference that you were making progress in deciding how to dispose of treated water. Has any further progress been made since then? And is the timing for the final decision on how to dispose of treated water now clearer?
In addition, I understand that the tanks will be full by summer. However, as it will already be December next week, I would like to ask whether the tanks have sufficient capacity or not. Are you having any discussions about this issue with TEPCO?
A: Regarding the handling of ALPS-treated water, we are currently in the process of deliberation at the relevant ministries and agencies based on the discussion at the recent meeting of the Team for Decommissioning and Contaminated Water Treatment. Immediately after that meeting, I received questions from your company, and as I recall, I responded that some progress was being made.
Since the meeting, we have been holding briefings and exchanging opinions with various stakeholders including consumer associations. We are holding careful and productive discussions with various organizations at various levels, and we are making progress toward obtaining understanding from stakeholders.
In addition, as we have already mentioned, the volume of ALPS-treated water is increasing daily and the tank site is getting full. Under such circumstances, we need to consider the necessity of constructing additional tanks in conjunction with the handling of ALPS-treated water.
Fortunately this year, no typhoons hit Eastern Japan, and the amount of rainfall has been less than in previous years, which I think will also affect this issue. However, we are continuously and carefully examining when tanks will become full, taking into account expected rainfall, contaminated water generation and the effects of all control measures.
It is a fact that the storage capacity will continue to diminish with time. We cannot afford a long delay in deciding on a policy. I intend to make a decision responsibly at an appropriate time, while carefully taking into account various opinions from those discussions.
We have not yet clarified the timing of our decision making. Since the end of the previous team meeting, related ministries and agencies have been examining the contents of the meeting and formulating appropriate responses. In addition, we are currently engaged in a variety of discussions with each organization on various levels. This is the current situation concerning this issue.