Taiwan: Asian wind energy hotspot
Taiwan: Asian wind energy hotspot
North-West Europe has been going through a steep learning process regarding offshore wind energy. Fast developments in the past years have resulted in advanced technologies that have driven down the costs significantly. This local growth has lead to increased confidence in the deployment of offshore wind energy all over the world. Now, the rest of the world may follow Europe’s example.
Indeed, the forecast for global wind energy looks very promising. Among others, China, the USA, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea are all convinced that wind energy might be a successful step towards a green society.
Taiwan is described as one of the offshore wind energy hotspot in Asia by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and has gained more interest lately thanks to their favourable offshore conditions.
The wind resources off the Taiwanese coast are outstanding high and reliable. The data on wind resources in Taiwan in the database of the international organization ‘4C offshore’ confirm this. The reason for these strong winds is the location of Taiwan relative to the mainland, which causes a channelling effect that reinforces the offshore winds. Besides strong winds, Taiwan also has a significant amount of ‘full-load’ hours which makes the offshore region even more reliable considering a high annual energy output. Last but not least, the water is relatively shallow, which means bottom-founded wind turbines can be used.
Due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Taiwanese government is eager to stimulate the renewable energy industry. The disaster has pushed the country towards denuclearisation and the development of alternative renewable energy resources. As space on land is limited, and offshore conditions are favourable, it was a straightforward decision to focus on offshore wind energy.
Roadmap to offshore wind
In an attempt to attract offshore wind investors, the Taiwanese government has set out a roadmap until 2025, that is split up in three phases. Currently, the first phase is running, which covers the construction of three demonstration projects of 360 MW. They aim to install 5.5GW of offshore wind energy by 2025 and by 2030, Taiwan expects to have an offshore wind energy output of 10-17 GW. To create an inviting investing climate, feed-in tariffs are set high.
Gateway to Asian market
The favourable offshore conditions in Taiwan have drawn the attention of large European offshore wind developers. Denmarks Orsted, Spanish manufacturer Siemens Gamesa and Germany’s wpd are already involved in the Taiwanese offshore wind market. Recently, van Oord was designated as preferred contractor for a large 640 MW offshore wind project in Taiwan called the Yunlin project.
For the companies involved, Taiwan is seen as a gateway to beyond. A lot of potential is seen in the Asia Pacific region, like Japan and Vietnam. As Matthias Bausenwein (Orsted) says: We see ‘“Taiwan as our Asia Pacific hub to monitor and explore other markets in Asia” while at the same time we try to “proactively develop offshore wind projects in the US.” (Source: https://cleantechnica.com)
Companies that are interested in investing in the Taiwanese offshore wind market will face the challenges of a new local market that is being developed rapidly from scratch. A big challenge is the timeline as permit processes, grid infrastructure and local supply chains are still being developed. The involved parties will have to work closely together to deliver the project on schedule.
Another big challenge regarding the Taiwan region is the aggressive natural environment, where potential exposure to typhoons and earthquakes create an additional challenge for wind turbine developers. Nonetheless, the high and reliable Taiwanese wind resources will no doubt attract a sufficient number of offshore wind developers that are willing to further develop the offshore wind sector in Taiwan.