August 27, 2014 / ROV

Custom ROV insurance policies take into account the unique considerations of using unmanned vehicles to perform underwater tasks. Japanese companies are using this technology to set up an experimental wind farm offshore. If successful, the project will point the way for similar projects from the Japanese Ministry of the Environment.

Marine Link reports that the operation is using a Saab Seaeye Falcon, which will inspect the chain being used to anchor the floating wind turbine and test it for resilience. The company performing the test, Shibuya Diving, specifically requested this model of ROV and is working on a dive support vessel designed to launch and control the Falcon.

The anchor for the turbine will be located more than 300 feet under the water south of the country. The chain used for attaching the turbine is roughly three times this length, and the Falcon is used to monitor the chain while coping with long periods of underwater exposure.

Japan has been taking steps to increase its wind power usage and courting outside companies to do so. Bloomberg reports that, as of 2013, more than 7,000 megawatts of energy were generated by offshore projects around the world.

That source also quotes Tulsi Tanti of Indian company Suzlon Energy Ltd., who is in talks to produce turbines for Japan. He told the source that working for Japan makes economic and practical sense.

"This type of business is very capital-intensive so you must leverage the lowest cost of funds," he said, adding that "you can't ship offshore turbines, they're too big. You have to manufacture there."

Since the country is trying to use wind sources to generate 30 percent of its energy, expect to see more projects like this in the region, and a greater need for dive support vessel insurance.

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