Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Japan plans to build floating wind power turbines off the Fukushima coast to help reconstruct the region devastated by this year's earthquake and tsunami.The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will spend as much as 20 billion yen ($260 million) on a pilot project of six 2-megawatt wind turbines, Masanori Sato, an official in charge of promoting clean energy, said by phone. The feasibility study will run through March 2016 before a possible larger wind farm.Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., IHI Corp. and Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co. are among companies the ministry expects to take part, Sato said.“Floating wind power generation is still in the developing stage, so it is good to get Japanese companies involved,” he said today. “Offshore wind power is going to be important.”Japan plans to build as many as 80 floating wind turbines off Fukushima by 2020, the Sankei newspaper said yesterday. Sato said details haven't been decided. The project cost is part of a supplementary budget that requires approval from parliament.The March quake and tsunami left about 20,000 people dead or missing and led to a nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, the worst since Chernobyl.
--Editors: Tony Barrett, Alex Devine