3.3MW-output giant wind turbines start operating

Hibikinada District in Wakamatsu-ku, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, is a vast landfill on the coast covering about 2,000ha.

As you make a right turn on Route 495 and cross a bridge after driving for about 30 minutes on an expressway from the central part of Kitakyushu City and through Wakato Tunnel, you will find solar panels orderly arrayed across an area on your right and two huge wind turbines rotating in front of the horizon of Hibikinada on your left. The rated capacity of the turbines is 3.3MW each. At this moment, this is the largest wind farm for commercial use operating in Japan.

The rotating diameter of the blades is 112m. The tower is 86m tall, and from the ground to the top of the blade is 140m. In Hibikinada District, 10 other large turbines with an output of 1.5MW each are operating along the coast. Even taking the perspective into consideration, the hugeness of these two turbines with more than double the capacity of the smaller turbines can be realized (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Large wind turbines with an output of 3.3MW each can be seen on the left beyond the bridge in Hibikinada District. (source: Nikkei BP)

These two wind turbines are part of the "Hibikinada Wind Energy Research Park," a hybrid-type power plant run by Japan Renewable Energy Corp (hereafter JRE, Minato-ku, Tokyo) and Hokutaku Co Ltd (Asahikawa City, Hokkaido). JRE is one of Japan's most experienced companies in mega-solar and other renewable energy-based power generation developments. Hokutaku is also one of Japan's most experienced companies in the maintenance of wind farms. This plant's power producer is "Hibikinada Wind Energy Research Park Joint Venture (JV)" financed by these companies.