The Energy Secretary is going to Japan to promote British businesses amid a scramble for offshore wind farm deals worth tens of billions of pounds.

Grant Shapps is due to visit Tokyo this month as the country prepares to auction off licences to develop key areas of seabed.

It will be the first visit by a senior British official since the UK joined Japan in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The Telegraph says British companies including BP are vying for a share of the potentially-lucrative rollout of offshore wind technologies in Japan.

They face opposition from the likes of America’s General Electric, which makes wind turbines the size of skyscrapers.

The UK is the world’s second-biggest producer of offshore wind power after China.

Valuable expertise

It has the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Hornsea 2, off the coast of Yorkshire, giving its businesses valuable expertise that diplomats and executives believe will be useful.

Japan is pinning its hopes on renewables such as wind and solar, alongside a revival of nuclear energy – put on hold in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster – in an attempt to strengthen its energy security and reduce reliance on gas imports from countries including Russia.

The country’s first large-scale offshore wind farm only entered service in December,but the government has plans to develop many more, with a strategy targeting capacity of at least 10 gigawatts by 2030 and 30 gigawatts by 2040.

Deep coastal waters and frequent earthquakes make the environment a challenging one, meaning the majority of potential projects will need to use turbines on floating platforms – a technology being pioneered off the coast of Scotland.

Tokyo has already held one national auction of seabed licences, with all three sites won by Mitsubishi, and is holding a second due to conclude in the summer. More are expected every year.

Julia Longbottom, the UK Ambassador to Japan, told the Telegraph the shake-up was a huge export opportunity for British firms with expertise in renewable energy that could generate new jobs and investment at home.

Leader in wind energy

She added: “The UK is a leader in wind energy and has got a lot of experience to share with Japan, which is near the beginning of its decarbonisation journey.

“Wind energy is going to take off here. There is a lot of potential and we, the UK Government, are ready to support companies that are interested.

“In terms of the invasion of Ukraine and the energy crisis, our view is that this is a prompt for us all to invest much more in renewables to increase our energy self-sufficiency.

“That's the message we are giving to our Japanese friends...and we would encourage the Japanese government to be looking harder and faster at increasing renewables.”

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