Linklaters backs Japanese offshore wind farms


Linklaters counselled Marubeni Corporation, on its ¥100 billion (US$899 million) plan to build 140MW capacity offshore wind farms at Akita Port and Noshiro Port in northern Japan in the country’s first large-scale commercial offshore wind power project.

The company will set up 33 bottom-fixed offshore wind power generators, and an onshore substation and transmission lines. It has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Tohoku Electric Power based on the feed-in tariff system.

The construction of the onshore substation and transmission lines are expected to start in February 2020, and commercial operations are expected to begin in 2022. Noshiro Port will be the base port for operations and maintenance.

The project was financed by multiple domestic and foreign financial institutions. MUFG Bank, Mizuho Bank, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation acted as the mandated lead arrangers for the capital raise.

The project special purpose vehicle, Akita Offshore Wind Corporation, has 12 other partners: Obayashi, Tohoku Sustainable & Renewable Energy, Cosmo Eco Power, Kansai Electric Power, Chubu Electric Power, The Akita Bank, Ohmori, Sawakigumi, Kyowa Oil, Katokensetu, Kanpu, Sankyo and Kyowa Oil.

Tokyo-based Marubeni, a member of Mizuho, is the fifth-largest sōgō shōsha, or general trading company, in Japan.

The deal was led by Linklaters partners John Pickett in London and Hirofumi Taba in Tokyo. Taba was supported by managing associates Mamiko Nagai and Mamoru Ikeda.

“The risk allocation model is likely to set a precedent for future offshore wind projects going into Japan,” said Taba.