Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners Doubles Down on Renewables

彰芳暨西島風場執行長DENNIS SANOU(左起)、桃園市長鄭文燦、CIP台灣區董事總經理許乃文、及世紀集團董事長賴文祥於世紀風電本土製水下基礎上部結構前合影。

To achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the National Development Council has set a goal of an electricity mix where renewables will account for 70%, a significant increase from the 5.5% it represented in 2020. For Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), this ambitious goal is a welcomed development, as the pioneering fund management enterprise aims to deploy EUR100 billion (more than NT$3 trillion) into green energy investments globally by 2030.

“Although we are still waiting for a more concrete blueprint and involvement from the Ministry of Finance, the Taiwan government is ahead of many others in announcing a net-zero goal,” says Marina Hsu, managing director of CISC Taiwan, the service company owned by CIP-managed funds. “This is really something we should applaud. Now, it’s time to incorporate constructive criticism and advice from the public and get to work.”

In Taiwan, CIP is building two offshore wind projects totaling 900 MW capacity, which will soon be able to power nearly one million Taiwanese households. But even with another 6.3 GW in the pipeline, the company’s hunger for offshore wind on the island is not yet sated. “We are deeply dedicated to all sorts of new technology that supports each market’s net-zero initiatives,” says Hsu.

由彰芳西島及中能風場促成風機系統商VESTAS攜手天力離岸風電科技於台灣設立亞太地區首座離岸風機葉片場,目前宣布首支國產葉片已順利通過原廠檢測及驗收,將用於彰芳暨西島風場,提前兩年落實葉片國產化目標。

But building offshore wind on the island is not without its challenges. Taiwan’s game rules for offshore wind projects differ from many other markets, mainly in terms of its strict localization requirements. While localization efforts allow Taiwanese enterprises to invest in equipment, facilities, and personnel, Hsu points out that when developing a local sector, pragmatic flexibility is essential for reducing the hazards of a potential domestic supply shortage.

“Because of the localization initiatives, offshore wind has created solid job opportunities in Taiwan,” she says. “It’s a transformation of society, and we’re enabling Taiwan to manufacture high-value green products. But we need a more pragmatic approach to localization. Since the companies are all new, they should be allowed room to mitigate risks because if they delay supply to developers, they will face liquidated damage.”

To ease the localization process, CIP has assisted its local suppliers with experts and project management teams. The company also supports corporations that wish to buy green energy for production purposes through corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs). Hsu notes that demand is soaring as Taiwan’s behemoths, as well as numerous small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), seek to meet client demand for green production.

“Our green energy is a highly coveted product, and it’s really a seller’s market at the moment,” she says. “We aim to produce the best possible product, but also to carefully choose our customers and develop a diverse portfolio. Many buyers are unaware of the price, purchasing process, and legal interface of buying green energy. A corporate PPA is a twenty-year deal, which means creditworthiness is of paramount importance to banks.”

彰芳暨西島風場第一期工程基樁運輸作業。彰芳暨西島風場基樁由俊鼎機械及世紀風電供應,為首座100%採用本土基樁的風場。

To advise and educate potential clients, CIP has invited its legal counsel, its main loan provider, and esteemed accounting firms to hold seminars on corporate PPAs and offshore wind. But Hsu stresses that private initiatives are not enough – the government must also play a role in ensuring that SMEs that have been asked to operate on green energy have the necessary support to meet external requirements.

Another issue facing green energy customers is the price of offshore wind energy. The cost of localization is significant, and with raw material prices rising due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, developers are under pressure to keep pricing low in order to win government contracts. Ultimately, notes Hsu, it is the consumers who bear the penalty of these inconsistencies. However, the industry is working hard to provide a cost-effective solution. “It’s an interesting game, and it’s full of challenges,” Hsu explains. “But we take pride in being a part of it and daring ourselves to do better.”

The fruits of CIP’s extensive efforts in Taiwan became tangible when the company’s order of the first domestically built wind turbine blade was unveiled in April. The Made-in-Taiwan blade will be installed at CIP’s Changfang and Xidao offshore wind project on a 9.5MW turbine later this year. The blades offer a spectacular sight for anyone passing by at 85m, or roughly 26 floors. But CIP’s vision for the future is for projects like these to be deemed ordinary rather than extraordinary, says Hsu.

“I hope that in a decade from now, we’ll see green energy at a lower cost, supported by a resilient and robust grid, and that green power is so normalized that it has lost its glamor. It should be part of everybody’s life, something we almost take for granted. That’s our vision for bringing renewables to Taiwan.”

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