Toshiba partners with General Electric to establish offshore wind turbine supply chain in Japan

Toshiba plans to establish a supply chain for offshore wind turbines in Japan, aiming to create a network of 100 suppliers in collaboration with General Electric (GE).

The partnership between Toshiba and GE will offer support in various aspects, including component development, production, and engaging smaller companies in regions such as Akita in northwest Japan, known for favourable offshore wind power conditions.

Toshiba intends to revitalise the industrial base for wind turbines and tap into the demand for renewable energy to counter the departure of domestic suppliers.

By 2026, Toshiba targets the start of domestic wind turbine production. The focus is on building a supply chain for nacelles, which house turbine components and the generator. Nacelles, essential for amplifying blade rotation and power generation, consist of thousands of parts and are roughly the size of a three-storey building.

Toshiba plans to coordinate with around 100 smaller suppliers initially, with the potential to expand as orders increase. The objective is to achieve a domestic procurement rate of 60% by value in 2040 through promoting domestic production.

Toshiba will provide support to suppliers in areas such as prototyping assistance and quality control. The establishment of parts warehouses near offshore wind turbines is planned to ensure proper spare component handling and the development of maintenance personnel. Given the 20-year operational lifespan of wind turbines, repair and maintenance expertise is vital.

Orders already include wind turbines for an upcoming project in Akita prefecture, expected to commence as early as 2028. Mitsubishi, as part of a consortium, has placed a consolidated order with GE for large wind turbines. Toshiba aims to leverage its partnership with GE to expand sales.

The Japanese government has set a target of installing 30 to 45 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2040. Additionally, it aims for domestic operators to account for 60% of investment in wind turbine production and related construction.

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