Mott MacDonald, the $2bn global engineering, management and development consultancy, has announced a significant milestone in its international renewable energy efforts. The company has successfully supported Hibiki Wind Energy Co., Ltd. and syndicated lenders to achieve financial close on Kitakyushu Hibikinada offshore wind farm project – a state-of-the-art offshore wind farm to be built near Kitakyushu in western Japan.

Hibiki Wind Energy Co., Ltd. is backed by major Japanese electricity utility companies, including Kyuden Mirai Energy (a subsidiary of Kyushu Electric Power Co., Inc.) and J-Power (Electric Power Development Co., Ltd.).

The 220 MW offshore wind farm project will generate clean electricity for more than 175,000 Japanese homes. This landmark project represents a major step forward in Japan’s energy transition and highlights how international collaboration has a key role in securing a more sustainable future.

The announcement of this project follows a recent agreement between the UK and Japanese governments to strengthen collaboration efforts on offshore wind energy. The UK is already a global leader in this field, while Japan possesses immense untapped potential to expand its own offshore wind capacity. The partnership between Mott MacDonald and Japanese companies embodies the culture of collaboration and shared expertise envisioned in the agreement.

Mott MacDonald has led the engineering development of large complex offshore wind projects since the industry’s inception, including some of the UK’s first offshore wind developments. This experience, and the ongoing growth in renewables globally, means it is well-placed to support emerging and pioneering projects in the Japanese market, including engineering leadership for Japan’s first four offshore wind farm projects.

Applying knowledge, insights and learnings gained from its contribution to UK offshore wind projects to the Japanese market supports ongoing investment and growth of the renewable energy offering in the region. Confirmation of the continued provision of technical advisory services for the construction of Hibikinada allows Mott MacDonald to further invest in its teams in Japan and the UK. Mott MacDonald’s renewable energy team in Tokyo is now one of the largest in the region, further entrenching its ability to support the ongoing development of the Japanese offshore wind industry.

Mott MacDonald’s partnership with local Japanese companies in developing the 220 MW offshore wind farm follows the successful launch of Japan’s first utility-scale Akita offshore wind farm achieving commercial operation and financial close of the Hokkaido offshore wind farm. UK companies playing a pivotal role in both successes. The Hibikinada wind farm is expected to act as a catalyst for further offshore wind development in the Kyushu region, where wind conditions are particularly favourable for this type of renewable energy generation.

Commenting on the importance of projects like Hibikinada and collaboration between the UK and Japan, David Boyland, managing director of ASEAN and East Asia, Mott MacDonald, said, “Offshore wind has a crucial role to play in the global energy transition. Some of the largest offshore wind farms anywhere in the world are in northern Europe – primarily in the seas around the UK and off the coast of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia – but increasingly, we are seeing markets emerge in east Asia, including in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, leading to exciting new opportunities in the region.”

“We are proud to have provided our leadership as lender technical advisor for the Kitakyushu Hibikinada offshore wind development, enabling the successful financial close of the project. Strengthening the collaborative relationship with our Japanese partners, we are delighted to be continuing our involvement with this transformational project as a key partner for the onward provision of technical advisory support through the construction phase.”

The Hibikinada offshore wind farm will contribute to Japan’s efforts to diversify its energy sources and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and help the country achieve its ambitious climate goals. As the global community continues to grapple with the challenges posed by climate change, this project demonstrates the importance of international cooperation and the role of the private sector in driving the transition to renewable energy.

Julia Longbottom, British Ambassador to Japan, said: “I am absolutely delighted at the announcement of Mott MacDonald’s role in the development of the Hibikinada offshore wind farm in Kitakyushu, Western Japan – an area I had the pleasure to visit last year to discuss the development of renewable energy. This announcement is a great example of the dynamic and growing collaboration in this sector between our two countries, as outlined in our newly-forged UK – Japan renewable energy partnership.”

“Offshore wind, a sector where the UK has built a global reputation, will play an integral role in Japan’s energy transition. The involvement of a British company in Japan’s latest offshore wind farm project is not only evidence of our shared commitment to renewable energy but also a clear indication of the potential for greater UK-Japan renewable energy collaboration. The Hibikinada project highlights the potential of our renewable energy partnership, and I look forward to seeing many more projects like this come to fruition across Japan with the involvement of British expertise.”

Osamu Ohta, country manager of Japan at Mott MacDonald, said: “This successful milestone reinforces the confidence in the potential of the Japanese offshore wind market. The opportunities for collaboration across borders and the continued projection of our industry-leading capabilities to continue the growth of engineering talent in Japan is incredibly exciting. The growth of our UK / Japanese offshore wind capabilities enables us to continue our support to Japanese clients as they continue their investments into the UK offshore wind market.”

Image source: Courtesy of Mott MacDonald; Stock image for illustration purposes only; Credoit Nicholas Doherty

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