April 5, 2020

Ramboll achieves major offshore wind contract in Japan

In Japan, growth on the offshore wind market is rapidly increasing, and with this new contract Ramboll will strengthen its position as market leader. Ramboll engineers will perform the detailed foundation design for a new offshore wind farm, which will be one of the largest in Japan.

The Japanese market for offshore wind is rapidly expanding mainly due to the development and competition on the world market, which have resulted in a lower price on green energy making competition between offshore wind turbines and other forms of energy possible without financial support.
The development of offshore wind in Japan has been relatively slow. In fact, Japan only has offshore wind turbines with an output of 65 MW installed. For comparison, Denmark has installed offshore wind farms with an output of 1736 MW. However, Japan is planning major expansions in the years to come, and the brand-new order for Ramboll underlines that the Asian country is on its way to succeed with its ambition to install wind farms with an output of 4,000 MW by 2040. During the last six years, the offshore wind business in Ramboll has grown by several hundred percent on the Asian market, and Ramboll expects to have a similar growth rate on the market in the future.
“There is a giant potential for Ramboll in Japan. At the same time, however, the geographic location is very challenging for offshore wind turbines. The area has a reputation for both earthquakes and typhoons, which require certain foundation design standards to withstand the giant forces of nature”, says Søren Juel Petersen, Global Market Director for Offshore Wind in Ramboll.
Ramboll will perform the detailed foundation design for the entire offshore wind farm, which will be one of the largest in Japan.
The special conditions in Japan and the extreme natural forces have great influence on the foundation design made by Ramboll. The company that will employ a Ramboll design team for a period of approximately one year is Obayashi Corporation.
“Ramboll has designed foundations for over half of all offshore wind farms worldwide, so with their experience and expertise we feel completely confident with the long-service life of the offshore wind farm, even if the conditions are challenging in Japan”, says Taku Kurimoto, General Manager, Obayashi Corporation.
There are both advantages and disadvantages of the late installation of offshore wind farms in Japan. The relatively new market for offshore wind is a giant potential for the players who will now contribute to the green energy transition in Japan. The disadvantage is that there are not yet any suppliers for all the services necessary to install an offshore wind farm.
In Europe a well-established supply chain and competition between suppliers of e.g. the special ships needed to install the foundations exist. But the whole supply chain has not yet been fully developed in Japan.
“Obayashi Corporation has proud traditions in delivering large infrastructure projects in Japan, and therefore they are clearly a key player in the establishment of a well-functioning supply chain for this and future wind farms in Japan”, says Søren Juel Petersen.
The contract for detailed foundation design underlines Ramboll’s strong presence in Japan. Today, Ramboll is the largest European player within consulting engineering companies on the Japanese market for offshore wind energy.
Furthermore, Ramboll has a plan for setting up an office in Tokyo.
“Local presence and cultural understanding are crucial for companies with the intention of doing business in Japan. It is not sufficient only to offer knowledge from projects outside Japan with the belief that this is enough. E.g. the design regulations are not intended for offshore wind turbines, and therefore local knowledge combined with global experience is crucial for developing joint solutions”, says Søren Juel Petersen.