Controversial Wind Plant to be Built on Kunashiri
A U.S. firm has won an order for a wind power plant to be built on Kunashiri Island, one of the four-Russian held islands Japan wants returned, a senior Sakhalin Province official said Friday. Sakhalin Machinery LLC, owned by Alabama-based Tiger Machinery LLC, received the order last year in addition to a Russian government order for a geothermal power plant on the same island, which is located off Hokkaido, the official said.
Tokyo has conveyed its concerns to Tiger Machinery over its business for the Russian government on the island. However, Tiger Machinery has indicated it plans to go ahead with construction of the geothermal power plant, which it reportedly intends to install on the island this summer. The wind plant is also scheduled to be installed on Kunashiri in the summer and start operation on the southern part of the island in autumn, the official said.
Japan has refused to endorse the operations of foreign companies on the islands of Kunashiri, Etorofu and Shikotan and the Habomai islets, which Soviet forces seized at the end of World War II. A South Korean company has reportedly participated in a port development project on Etorofu Island.
Sakhalin Machinery has also constructed a diesel-fuelled power plant that started operation last September on Etorofu, the Sakhalin official said.