Taipower readies 100MW site with European help

TAIWAN: Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) is developing a 100MW offshore wind project, with plans to tender for suppliers and contractors in 2017.

Taiwan is developing offshore wind as space for onshore wind is limited (pic: Wiki Commons)
Taiwan is developing offshore wind as space for onshore wind is limited (pic: Wiki Commons)

The power producer has contracted Denmark-headquartered global infrastructural and environmental consultancy Niras to provide technical advisory services for the project in a joint venture with Taiwanese firm Sinotech.

"Our work involves reviewing the tender documents when they are submitted," said Niras marine and geotechnical business director Christian Paulsen.

As client advisers, Niras and Sinotech will also supervise the construction phases and provide general technical advice and training in areas such as health, safety and environmental protection.

The project is planned to come online in 2018. "Taipower is aiming to meet the deadlines that have been set by the government," added Paulsen.

It will be built nearshore, although Paulsen was unable to confirm actual water depths at this stage.

According to analysis by Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), 1.2GW of offshore wind capacity is feasible in waters that are up to 20 metres in depth, with a further 5GW of potential in waters up to 50 metres.

"The island has some of the best offshore wind resources in the Asia-Pacific region and a government with a strong political will to develop the sector, because Taiwan is phasing out nuclear and does not have enough available land to build onshore wind farms on," Paulsen said.

However, currently Taiwan's ports lack facilities for offloading turbines and foundation structures, and the supply chain is not yet mature.

"The ports issue will need resolving, as wind farm construction starts," said Paulsen. Niras plans to open a local office before the year-end.

The government has designated 36 development zones for offshore wind, in waters surrounding the island across a range of distances and depths.

By the end of 2017, all developers interested in constructing offshore wind farms will need to have registered their interest with the Taiwanese government.

This year two of Taiwan's first offshore wind pilots have suffered delays for different reasons.

The 10MW Changhua Offshore Pilot Project (COPP), being developed by Taiwan Generations Corporation, has been set back because the government had to compensate local fisheries that will be impacted by the development. Onshore works construction is expected to start by the end of 2016.

The pilot is expected to be installed and operational by the end of 2017. 

The installation of the 8MW pilot phase of the 128MW Formosa 1 offshore wind project has had to be rescheduled due to the charter period coming to an end for A2SEA's jack-up vessel M/V Torben in mid-August, before the installations of the two Siemens 4MW turbines could occur.

Delays from the foundations contractor and technical failures of equipment were cited.

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