In 2016, Taiwan began working towards the ambitious goal of transforming its energy portfolio by 2025, reducing its current reliance on coal and boosting the proportion of renewable energy sources used to power its homes and businesses to 20% of the total energy mix. Danish wind power company Ørsted is leading the change by actively assisting the Taiwan government in achieving its energy goal and developing a comprehensive offshore wind ecosystem in Taiwan.
This year, Ørsted, with Taiwan as its regional hub, is celebrating its fifth year in the Asia Pacific region. Ørsted has hit milestone after milestone, working to make the island a forerunner of offshore wind in terms of capacity, expertise, and technical knowledge. The company, along with its joint venture partners, earned its first major achievement in November 2019 with the on-time delivery of Taiwan’s first commercial offshore wind farm, the 128 MW Formosa 1, of which Ørsted is the biggest shareholder (35%).
Ørsted has now embarked on the construction of Taiwan’s first large-scale and far-shore offshore wind projects – the massive 900 MW Greater Changhua 1 & 2a Offshore Wind Farms, which are scheduled for completion by 2022. Moreover, the company has signed a corporate power purchase agreement with chipmaking giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) to offtake the full production of Ørsted’s 920 MW Greater Changhua 2b & 4 Offshore Wind Farms.
Driving development of an offshore wind ecosystem
Ørsted, whose end-to-end business model covers development, construction, operations, and decommissioning of offshore wind farms, is making substantial local content commitment in its efforts to nurture Taiwanese suppliers, cultivate talent, upgrade port facilities, and establish Ørsted’s Operations and Maintenance (O&M) capabilities.
The company is working with more than 200 foreign and domestic suppliers, as well as their sub-contractors, to guarantee global Quality, Health, Safety, and Environmental (QHSE) standards and ensure the on time, on quality, and safe delivery of world-class offshore wind farms.
For example, the company is nurturing new market entrants, such as jacket foundation supplier Sing Da Marine Structure and pin pile suppliers Century Wind Power, Formosa Heavy Industries Corporation, and CSBC Corporation. Ørsted is working closely with Star Energy Corporation to construct the onshore substations. With the assistance from and close cooperation with Ørsted, the new suppliers successfully overcame their learning curves and ramped up their capabilities.
Ørsted is also devoted to supporting the growth of the offshore wind supply chain in Taiwan. Accomplishments include the accelerated establishment of Taiwan’s first nacelle assembly plant with wind turbine supplier Siemens Gamesa. The facility is the first of its kind outside of Europe, a milestone for localizing the production of wind turbine components for the Greater Changhua 1 & 2a, further strengthening Taiwan as an Asia-Pacific offshore wind forerunner.
Moreover, Ørsted has leveraged its world-leading O&M expertise to construct Taiwan’s largest and first-ever green-designed offshore wind O&M base at the Port of Taichung. To ensure the optimal performance and stability of its wind farms, Ørsted also concluded a long-term vessel contract with Taiwanese Ta San Shang Marine Co. Ltd. to build and charter Taiwan’s first bespoke service operation vessel (SOV). The company has also formed a Taiwanese O&M team, which is currently undertaking their secondment training at Ørsted O&M bases in the UK. Such efforts are concrete examples of Ørsted’s contribution to developing Taiwan’s O&M capabilities.
Cultivating offshore wind talent from ground zero
To be sure, there are also significant challenges to be faced in developing a viable offshore wind industry in Taiwan. One important but difficult task is developing a capable local talent pool from scratch, something that Ørsted has been tackling through several innovative talent cultivation initiatives, such as partnering with Da-Yeh University in Changhua launching the apprenticeship program to provide O&M training for aspiring young talent, as well as offering graduate and internship programs and Green Energy Scholarship to encourage green energy studies.
In addition, Ørsted established the Offshore Wind Industrial Development Fund to assist local sub-tiered suppliers to ramp up their technological capabilities and provide with advanced welding training.
Through these projects, Ørsted has charted a vision of Taiwan’s energy future, in which international businesses and Taiwanese enterprises, central and local governments, and various communities come together to create a green, clean and sustainable future.
“Ørsted has been dedicated since day one to be a good partner for Taiwan’s energy transition,” says General Manager of Ørsted Taiwan, Christy Wang. “We will continue our efforts to make Changhua and Taichung as the offshore wind hub of Taiwan. We believe that Taiwan, having successfully kickstarted Asia Pacific’s offshore wind industry, is well-positioned to share various lessons learnt and concrete achievements with neighboring markets and maintain its leading status in the region’s offshore wind development.”