SRE Provides a Cross-Generational Vision for Offshore Wind

Through close collaboration, the Taiwan Team can better understand market trends throughout the supply chain.

Taiwan’s aspirations to become a regional leader in wind power have resulted in a booming industry on the island. The goal now is to create a robust domestic supply chain to help both international and local developers transform Taiwan into a hub for green energy.

Yet morale has not always been so high. Lucas Lin, chief executive officer of Swancor Renewable Energy (SRE), says that when he was assigned as project director of Taiwan’s first offshore wind farm, Formosa 1, he found widespread skepticism about Taiwan’s capacity to develop such an industry.

“I initially contacted around 40 local investors for Formosa 1,” says Lin. “But seven years ago, nobody believed that Taiwan had offshore wind potential. So we decided to travel to Europe to attract international investors. We visited a European offshore wind exhibition, walked into the booths, and introduced our project.”

When he invited the European developers to Taiwan, they quickly recognized the island’s promise. Taiwan is very much suited for offshore wind; its curved coastlines and central mountains create bottlenecks that accelerate wind speeds, and its industrial and science parks are strategically located along the coast. Additionally, the Taiwan government aims to generate 20GW of offshore wind capacity by 2035, a policy that enables developers to expand the scope of their projects in Taiwan.

With the right mix of international experience and technology together with local knowledge and connections, Formosa 1 was completed within budget and on time, and it played a vital part in kicking off Taiwan’s offshore wind industry. As early as phase I of Formosa 1’s construction, SRE began collaborating with more than 40 local Taiwanese companies and three major international companies to complete the 128MW offshore wind farm.

Now, SRE, along with the Taiwan Team – a consortium that will develop the Formosa 4 and 5 offshore wind projects off the Miaoli County coast – are working to meet the Taiwan government’s goal of developing the local supply chain and positioning Taiwan as a hub of offshore wind.

SRE’s annual CSR event – Open Air Theater in Miaoli

“A wind turbine company might not understand upcoming trends if they just stay in their lane,” says Lin. “But by joining the Taiwan Team, they can gain a deeper understanding of market trends, learning about the requirements and demands of developers and end-users.”

SRE also collaborates closely with local stakeholders. Thanks to regular communications and transparency between the project team and local fishermen, Formosa 1 received a 95% approval rate among the affected fishers.

“Apart from compensating the fishermen for any loss of income, we worked with them and assigned them to the patrol vessels,” says Lin. “We also trained some fishermen to work as marine mammal observers. It’s a positive cycle. We offer them jobs, and they can observe us and make sure we stick to our word.”

A significant challenge in developing Taiwan’s offshore wind sector is a shortage of qualified talent. To overcome this issue, SRE has recruited internationally experienced project directors and hired young local talent proficient in English for its junior-level positions.

“After completing our current projects, our young Taiwanese talent will have gained five or six years of experience in the industry,” says Lin. “For future projects, the local staff will then qualify to join the management team.”

By fostering local talent, SRE is creating future Taiwanese offshore wind management teams.

To educate the public on offshore wind and attract future talent, SRE employees frequently visit universities and elementary and junior high schools to speak about renewable energy and offshore wind. In September this year, the company also collaborated with Ecus Publishing to publish Taiwan’s first-ever children’s picture book about offshore wind.

Taiwan Team visits TIWIC.

SRE continues to expand its offshore wind efforts through bidding on the upcoming Formosa 4 and 5 projects. The company also plans to invest in energy storage and is exploring opportunities to expand its operations abroad.

Lin says that SRE’s vision is to be a leader in renewable energy in East Asia in more ways than one and adds that “we strive to be a trusted and reputable partner that contributes to a better environment.” But perhaps the company’s most crucial goal is to improve the environment in Taiwan and abroad.

“Twenty years from now, I want to bring my grandson to the SRE wind turbines and feel proud that this is the legacy we left behind for his generation,” says Lin. “This is not just something we’re doing to meet the current energy demand, but also to contribute something worthwhile for future generations.”