Danish wind turbine maker Vestas A/S yesterday said it has invested NT$1 billion (US$36.07 million) in its local supply chain to supply components for its 9.5 megawatt (MW) V174 turbine.
The project has helped created 1,500 jobs, including 150 jobs by Vestas itself, Vestas country manager Alex Robertson said.
The turbine is to be used in four offshore wind farm projects for a total of 123 wind turbine generators, or 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of total capacity, he said.
“This is localization like I’ve never seen before,” Robertson told a media briefing in Taipei.
Vestas highlighted 10 Taiwanese supply chain partners that are either in production or awaiting certification as Vestas-approved component manufacturers, including Yeoungguan Group (永冠集團) for nacelle and hub castings, Fortune Electric Co (華城電機) for nacelle and hub assembly, Tienli Group (天力集團) for wind turbine blade manufacturing and Shihlin Electric & Engineering Corp (士林電機) for transformers and switchgears.
However, there is no guarantee that the supply chain that has been built for the V174 would make the transition to being a supplier of Vestas’ next model, the behemoth 15MW V236, which is taller than the 245m Shin Kong Life Tower (新光摩天大樓) in Taipei.
Wind turbines have been rapidly growing in size to improve energy yield efficiency.
The V236 will produce 65 percent more energy than its predecessor, Vestas said.
“Our 30-year supply chains in Europe will find making this turbine difficult,” Robertson said. “Our supply chain in Taiwan is only three years old. However, we have invested a lot into our existing suppliers and will do our best to explore feasibility.”
Robertson urged the Taiwanese government to go light on strict localization requirements and to focus support on Taiwanese companies that have what it takes to export internationally.
“In 10 years’ time, all that is going to matter is how many truly internationally competitive suppliers we have,” Robertson said. “It is better to have three true champions than 15 companies that can only survive in the Taiwan market.”
The Industrial Development Bureau is on Monday set to release localization requirements for the third round of Taiwanese offshore wind development.
Lin Hua-yu (林華宇), director of the bureau’s Metal and Mechanical Industries Division, said that while localization requirements mandate sourcing at least 60 percent of certain wind turbine components in Taiwan, the requirement is contingent on there being a Taiwanese company willing to produce the component.
“If there is a Taiwanese company willing to make the component, we guarantee them a percentage to help them start up their business as their costs will inevitably be higher in the beginning,” Lin said.
“However, businesses will only be willing to take on a new product if they think they have a chance to make it in the export market eventually,” Lin added.
This story has been modified since it was first published, which incorrectly stated that Vestas invests NT$9 billion in local supply chain in the headline and in the first paragraph.
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