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Wind industry breaks records in Europe and offshore wind industry eyes Taiwan

Europe added a record 15.7GW of new wind energy capacity in 2017, according to WindEurope’s annual onshore and offshore wind statistics. New wind farm installations were up 20% on 2016. Onshore wind capacity grew by 12.5GW and offshore wind by 3.1GW.

Wind constituted 55% of all power capacity installations in 2017. 2017 was also a record year for new investments in future wind farms. 11.5GW worth of projects reached final investment decision stage: 9GW in onshore wind and 2.5GW in offshore. But the value of these investments at € 22.3 billion (€ 14.8 billion onshore and € 7.5 billion offshore) was 19% down on 2016. Cost reductions in the wind industry supply chain and increased competition in auctions gave investors more capacity for less cash. Wind energy in Europe now has a total installed capacity of 169GW: 153GW onshore and 16GW offshore. Germany remains the country with the largest installed wind power capacity (56GW). It is followed by Spain (23GW), the UK (19GW) and France (14GW).

Is Taiwan the entry point to the Asian offshore wind market?
The global offshore wind market is set to grow at a 16% compound annual rate from 2017 to 2030, reaching a cumulative capacity of 115GW. Currently most offshore wind is installed in Europe (16GW) but this market is becoming more and more international. The core markets for growth are the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and China. But in the next decade, Taiwan and the USA will also become gigawatt markets.

And it looks like Taiwan, in particular, attracts a lot of attention from the industry nowadays. In the first three months of 2018 about 20 different companies have already released announcements regarding the offshore wind market in Taiwan. Several of these concern cooperations and joint ventures as well as project announcements.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Yeong Guan Energy Technology Group to collaborate on the development of an offshore wind supply chain in Taiwan. SGRE also has been contracted to supply an additional 120MW of capacity for the second stage of the Taiwanese Formosa 1 offshore wind farm. Also MHI Vestas signed MOUs with four Taiwanese companies. These agreements are the realisation of the company’s manufacturing strategy for the region and involve the manufacturing of towers and blades for its 9MW platform.

And it is not only the OEMs heading to Taiwan. Service companies and suppliers to the offshore wind industry are eyeing the Taiwanese market. Recently CWind has announced the formation of a joint venture with International Ocean Vessel Technical Consultant Co. (IOVTEC), a survey and crew transfer vessel service provider based in Taiwan. And Bladt Industries and Semco Maritime have entered into a partnership with the Taiwanese shipyard CSBC Corporation, jointly creating a supplier to cover the Taiwanese market for offshore substations.

Ørsted was present from the start in Taiwan as an investor in the first offshore wind farm in Taiwan, Formosa 1, which now will be extended with an additional 120MW. In February, Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration concluded the review process and approved the environmental impact assessment of Ørsted’s four offshore wind projects located off Changhua County in Taiwan. The total capacity of the four wind farms, which will be located between 35 and 60 kilometres from shore, is expected to be 2.4GW. Subject to the final investment decision, construction of the first of the four projects could potentially start as early as 2019.

The Taiwanese government has raised its target for offshore wind to 5.5GW by 2025. I guess the target is interesting enough for companies to establish a local presence in the country but they also probably choose the country for future strategic reasons for the whole Asia-Pacific region. Not only geographically but also politically it is easier to serve the region from Taiwan then for instance China. And although the Chinese offshore wind market will surpass the Taiwanese market it is likely that Chinese OEMs will supply the majority of the offshore turbines. That is probably also why SGRE licensed its 8MW offshore wind technology to Shanghai Electric for the Chinese market.

Windtech International will keep an eye on the Taiwanese market as well and we will keep you informed through our magazine, website and newsletters.

Enjoy reading,

Floris Siteur