The government plans to spend NT$2.5 billion (US$81.82 million) improving infrastructure at Taichung Port to transform it into a base for the development of offshore wind energy, the Taiwan International Ports Corp (TIPC) said.
The project would be funded mainly by a special budget for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Project, a series of projects that the government plans to finish within eight years, TIPC said.
TIPC Taichung branch office chief secretary Cheng Shu-hui (鄭淑惠) said that the funding would be used to renovate the port’s 5A and 5B docks and build a new dock, No. 106, with those areas to be used to assemble offshore wind power generator components.
The work is to be completed by 2019, Cheng said.
TIPC is to provide 100 hectares of Taichung Port land and spend NT$350 million building roads and other infrastructure to attract investments from domestic suppliers that produce parts for wind power generators, she said.
Cheng said that the government has been pursuing the development of “green” energy infrastructure and electricity generated by offshore wind turbines is a key source.
The Executive Yuan approved a plan to build 1,000 wind turbines on land and offshore, Cheng said.
The plan stipulates that offshore wind turbines would have storage capacity of 3 gigawatts by 2025, she said, adding that sources of renewable energy would account for 20 percent of the nation’s electricity supply in the same year.
Based on evaluations conducted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Cheng said the most ideal area for wind energy development is the coastal area south of Hsinchu County and north of Changhua County.
Most of the sites chosen by the ministry to install wind turbines are off the coast of Changhwa, she said.
“Offshore wind turbines are large machines that require a lot of space to assemble,” Cheng said. “Taking into account the risks of installing the turbines at sea and accessibility to the generators, one has to choose the port that is closest to the wind farm.”
Apart from being an international port and the closest seaport to the wind farm, Cheng said that Taichung Port was chosen as a base because it is a deep-water port that can accommodate large ships that are needed to transport parts for turbines.
The port has well-established infrastructure and lots of space for logistics support, she added.
Domestic and international wind power suppliers have expressed interest in establishing logistics zones at the port, TIPC said.
TIPC vice president of business Tsai Ting-yi (蔡丁義) said the company is confident that the port would become a base for the wind energy industry.
The company could raise funds to continue the project if a special budget for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Project is not approved by legislators, Tsai said.