Sat, Jan 26, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Century unfazed by wind energy tariff issues

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

A Century Iron & Steel Industrial Co representative explains the underwater construction and supply chain for offshore wind development projects at a briefing at a construction site at the Port of Taipei in New Taipei City yesterday.

Photo: Huang Pei-chun, Taipei Times

Century Iron & Steel Industrial Co (世紀鋼構) chairman Lai Wen-hsiang (賴文祥) yesterday said that the company was unaffected by the row over the government’s proposal to cut the feed-in tariff for offshore wind energy and that it remained committed to planned investments.

The government’s proposal to reduce its offshore wind energy purchase rates by 12.7 percent to NT$5.106 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) has prompted Denmark’s Orsted A/S to suspend projects in Taiwan after its efforts to dodge the rate cut were thwarted by an administrative delay, while other developers have also spoken against the lower rate.

“If a developer withdraws from Taiwan, others would take over the projects,” Lai told a news conference at the Port of Taipei alongside nine other local supply chain partners.

Century’s exposure to Orsted is limited to a trial production run for underwater structures for wind turbines that is valued at about NT$90 million (US$2.92 million), Lai said, adding that the company has received almost half of the payments due.

Meanwhile, Century has inked NT$16.5 billion in supply contracts with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and is negotiating contracts with Germany-based Wpd Group, Lai said.

Century and its Taiwanese partners remain committed to plans to invest NT$12.85 billion in manufacturing and infrastructure to meet the government’s local-content requirements for offshore wind projects, Lai said, adding that about 2,500 jobs would be created.

The company said that it would be able to launch its NT$6 billion investment to build and ship underwater structures for wind turbines before the end of this year.

Underwater structures must be built near the shore, as they are too large to transport long distances, Lai said, adding that it has about 400,000m2 in warehouse space to store finished units until they can be deployed when seas are calm.

The facility would be able to produce an estimated 50 offshore jackets and monopiles, as well as 150 pin pile units annually, creating about 1,000 jobs, he said.

The company began exploring the offshore wind energy market in 2013, when it saw the government’s commitment to renewables as a chance for the steel industry to tackle oversupply that persisted since the 2009 global financial crisis, Lai said.

It was a long road to get certification to tap into the immense demand for steel for offshore wind projects, he said, adding that the company formed a subsidiary with Bladt Industries to develop its underwater construction capabilities.

Century and Tai-Shing Engineering & Construction Co Ltd (台欣工業) are also investing NT$3 billion in another facility at the Port of Taichung that would produce 35,000 tonnes of jacket legs, pin piles and other underwater structures, and create 400 jobs.

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