Taiwan needs to scale up port and transportation infrastructure to accommodate the next generation of mega turbines, industry representatives said yesterday as the nation enters a third round of offshore wind farm development.
Government and industry representatives at the Global Offshore Wind Energy Summit Taiwan organized by the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan and the Global Wind Energy Council discussed the “urgent need for investment” in Taichung Harbor as the construction season — which has been affected by global restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic — draws to a close.
“Taichung Harbor is a great port, but it wasn’t built as an offshore port,” Siemens Gamesa Offshore for Asia-Pacific general manager Niels Steenberg said. “You need really stable quaysides for the next generation of offshore wind turbines.”
Photo courtesy of the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan
In the years since Taiwan began its offshore wind farm development in 2016, the industry standard for the largest turbines has grown from about 10 megawatts of capacity to the Siemens-Gamesa SG 14-222 DD 14MW turbines to be used at the Hailong Offshore Wind Farm (海龍離岸風電).
Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chi Wen-jong (祁文中) pledged to upgrade the harbor to suit the needs of the offshore wind farm industry.
“We have dedicated space at Taichung Harbor for the needs of the offshore wind farm industry — such as turbine assembly, transportation and component manufacturing — and five new heavy-duty quays will be constructed,” Chi said.
Elsewhere, a 15.8-hectare area has been earmarked near Taipei Harbor to be a construction zone for underwater infrastructure for the industry, he said.
In addition to a target of 5.6 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity installed by the end of 2025, Taiwan hopes to add 15GW of offshore wind capacity from 2026 to 2035 as part of its third round of development.
“As an export-oriented economy, Taiwan needs to keep up with the global trend to switch to renewable energy,” Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said. “By 2035, Taiwan will generate 77.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year through offshore wind farms.”
By then, the industry would have triggered NT$3.2 trillion (US$114.93 billion) in investment and created 74,000 local jobs, Shen said.
Industry representatives also asked for more “flexibility and support” with regard to Taiwan’s local content plan.
In the second round of development, participants were offered a choice of feed-in tariff-supported projects with a requirement that a proportion of components be made in Taiwan, but third round projects would no longer benefit from the tariffs, but are still subject to local content requirements.
Taiwan Offshore Wind Industry Association chairwoman Marina Hsu (許乃文) said that the “dual burden” of localization and price bids would be passed on from developers to power suppliers.
“We must ask: Are the local supply chains mature enough to bear this pressure?” she said.
While Taiwan is still “undoubtedly” the leader in non-China Asia-Pacific (APAC) offshore wind farm development, Japan and South Korea are aggressively entering the market and “offering a lot of subsidies and support,” said Alex Robertson, country manager for Danish turbine maker Vestas.
“Taiwanese offshore wind localization needs to move away from a rule-based approach and into a competition-based approach, and we want the kind of ambitious local partners who will be capable of exporting into the APAC region and even beyond,” Robertson said.
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