Offshore wind farm developers and the Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday expressed hope that the establishment of a new industry group would facilitate communication between the fledgling industry and the government.
The launch of the Taiwan Offshore Wind Industry Association (TOWIA), which comprises eight major offshore wind farm developers with projects in Taiwan, comes just weeks ahead of a highly anticipated announcement of the “rules of the game” for the third phase of the nation’s wind farm development plan, dubbed “zonal development.”
Developers have since March 2019 been waiting for the announcement of the rules on zonal development, which would see 1 gigawatt’s worth of projects released every year for 10 years.
The ministry recently said the rules would be announced by the end of this month.
Whether projects would be awarded through a selection process or an auction and what the local content requirements would be are among two of the most critical issues.
TOWIA chairwoman Marina Hsu (許乃文) urged the government to retain aspects of the selection process used to award most of the phase 2 projects, as well as “provide support for new technologies,” such as floating wind turbines.
“We believe that for the good of the long-term development of offshore wind farms in Taiwan, we must learn from the selection process in phase 2,” Hsu said.
Swancor Renewable Energy Co (上緯新能源) CEO Lucas Lin (林雍堯) said that the government should support floating wind turbine technology to ensure offshore wind farms succeed in Taiwan as a source of power and as a nascent industry for export.
Many sites for zonal development are situated in waters more than 60m deep, beyond the capability of traditional fixed-bottom turbines.
As floating turbine technology is still in the experimental phase, it is a field that Taiwanese companies can develop and make their own, Lin said.
“It is hard for Taiwanese manufacturers to catch up with countries that have been making offshore wind farm equipment for decades,” Lin said. “However, floating wind is new and there is a level playing field.”
Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng (曾文生), who attended the association’s inauguration, declined to reveal details about zonal development, saying only that the government is in it for the long haul when it comes to offshore wind farms.
“We are looking ahead to 2050 and how offshore wind farms can be a part of Taiwan’s carbon reduction solution,” Tseng said.
“We are already planning how to rebuild wind farms after their 20-year life span,” he added
Tseng said that he hoped the association, started at the “repeated behest” of Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津), would improve communication between the government and the developers.
Taiwan has attracted many international developers after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced an ambitious “20 percent renewable energy by 2025” goal after her 2016 inauguration.
At one point, Taiwan was on track to have 5 gigawatts of offshore wind power in the water by 2015.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic and other unforeseen difficulties have slowed projects, such as German developer Wpd’s Yunlin offshore wind farm project, which was delayed by fishers’ protests, and another Wpd project near Taoyuan, which was blocked after objections by the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
Yesterday, Danish developer Orsted A/S’ Greater Changhua South East offshore wind farm project finally passed its environmental impact assessment after six attempts.
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