Japan plans to resume public auctions of wind power projects in response to a backlash when a Mitsubishi Corporation-led consortia won three bids last year.
The government said the revised rules would add clarity to the process as well as draw a wider range of bidders and encourage faster development.
The resumption follows the abrupt suspension of an auction in March for an offshore wind farm in Happo-Noshiro in northern Japan amid criticism over the bid process transparency.
In 2021, Mitsubishi-led groups were awarded licences to operate three offshore wind power projects in Akita, northern Japan, and Chiba, near Tokyo.
The proposed changes, presented on Thursday by the industry and land ministries to a panel of expects, would give a higher evaluation score to operators who submit earlier start-up dates.
It also sets a limit on bids that one consortium can win when multiple ocean areas are auctioned for wind power farms.
To discourage auctions that focus on price alone, the evaluation process will give all bids that are below the market value an equal score in their assessment on price.
The government says the changes would be required as Japan needs to expand wind power and other renewable energy faster in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has sent energy prices soaring.
Offshore wind power is a key part of Japan’s decarbonisation strategy and the government plans to install up to 10 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and up to 45 GW by 2040 to curb emissions.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell