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Japan removes two last wind power turbines

TOKYO: The Japanese government has decided to remove the two remaining wind power turbines it installed off the Fukushima Prefecture due to the unprofitability of the project.

The 60 billion yen (US$580 million) project was widely seen as a symbol of the reconstruction of the northeastern prefecture following the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.

Kyodo News reports that the government's decision came despite Japan's goal of raising its offshore wind power generation up to 45 gigawatts in 2040 from the 20,000 kilowatts it currently produces.

Japan's alternative and renewable energy plans are part of efforts to fight climate change and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

At a meeting in Fukushima, industry ministry officials briefed fishermen and other participants about the plan to scrap the wind power turbines, with locals saying the government had wasted taxpayers' money and should conduct a thorough study of why the project had failed.

Of the three turbines installed 20km off the coast of Naraha town, the government removed one in June and it will remove the remaining two starting April next year.

The three turbines were constructed in stages in 2012, to support the local economy by creating a new industry based on renewable energy.

To commercialise wind power generation, the operational rate of a turbine must remain at 30 to 35 per cent or more, according to the ministry.

But the rates of the turbines off Fukushima were only around four to 36 per cent.

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