Tue, Aug 28, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Bureau to take offshore wind farm bids

ADVANTAGES As Taiwan strives to cut its dependence on energy imports, windmills at sea are becoming more attractive because they benefit from `steadier winds'

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The Bureau of Energy will next month start taking applications for building the nation's first offshore wind farm after difficulties in finding suitable onshore sites.

Permission for a total 300 megawatts will be issued in the first stage and applications will be reviewed on a "first come first serve" basis, Bureau of Energy Chief Secretary Chen Yi-ling (陳怡鈴) said yesterday.

The nation's own resources account for less than 2 percent of energy supplies. To help cut fuel imports, the government has said it wants hydropower and renewable energy, such as wind turbines, to make up as much as 17 percent of installed electricity generating capacity by 2025, compared to the present 13 percent.

"Onshore windmills are getting saturated," bureau official Lai Wen-chi (賴文祺) said. "Our next stage will be building offshore ones."

The government may issue more permits for offshore turbines in the second stage, which will come in 2010, Lai said.

These mills may have the advantage of "steadier winds" than those on land, which face more turbulence, he said.

Installed capacity of wind farms may total 1,223 megawatts by 2010, he said.

That compares to 162 megawatts as of June, Taiwan Power Co's (台灣電力公司) Web site said.

Formosa Heavy Industries Corp (台朔重工), China Steel Corp (中鋼) and Teco Electric & Machinery Co (東元電機) are likely contenders for permits to build the wind farms, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News said yesterday.

Teco Electric & Machinery Co shares had their best streak in more than five years.

Teco, Taiwan's second-largest home appliance maker by market value after Tatung Co, rose 3.6 percent to close at NT$18.65 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday, bringing the increase in the past six sessions to 24 percent, the biggest gain since February 2002. The benchmark TAIEX added 0.3 percent.

The Taipei-based company will likely apply for government approval to tap the island's offshore wind energy, said Kevin Chen, a spokesman for Teco, confirming the Economic Daily News report.

"We are always interested in public-sector business," Chen said, declining to give a sales projection from the company's wind energy business.

Teco makes motors used for generating power from wind through its Teco-Westinghouse Motor Co unit, he said.

"We have been doing business with the government on developing nuclear and power energy," Chen said.

Teco makes household appliances. Formosa Heavy is a unit of Formosa Plastics Group (台朔集團).

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