With its plentiful winds and ambitious climate goals, Taiwan is currently the region’s leading market for offshore wind development. This development has occurred in less than a decade, largely due to the commitment and ambitions of international industry leaders.
Canadian energy producer Northland Power is one of the first industry players that recognized Taiwan’s potential for developing a sustainable offshore wind industry. Northland began planning the Hai Long Offshore Wind Project with its partners Yushan Energy and Mitsui & Co in 2016. Once built, Hai Long will consist of three windfarms around 50km off the Changhua County coast, supplying over one million households with clean energy.
To date, the project has signed all contracts, secured a 20-year corporate offtake agreement for 744 MW Hai Long 2B and 3A projects and is progressing to 2023 financial close with commercial operations targeted for 2025/2026.
“Despite the challenges of the past two years, I’m happy to say that we are still on track,” says Northland’s Executive Vice President, Offshore Wind, David Povall, who also serves as Hai Long’s chairperson.
The pandemic, war in Ukraine, and resulting fluctuating commodity prices have tested the industry. Northland has handled these challenges deftly, in large part thanks to its Taiwan team, now numbering over 100.
Povall credits Northland’s ability to find and nurture talent as critical to the company’s operations in Asia. While the company has a Center of Excellence in Europe to meet the growing global demand for engineers, it has also initiated domestic efforts with partners such as the MIRDC and National Sun Yat-sen University to develop the next generation of talent that will help Taiwan meet its green energy goals.
By focusing on industry competence and long-term strategy, Northland is reinforcing its position as a reputable and trusted operator in the industry. It has clearly articulated sustainability goals and requires all suppliers to sign onto its code of conduct. Povall explains that the company is working with its more than 2,000 global suppliers to ensure a high-quality and resilient supply chain that meets the company’s strict standards.
Northland’s reputation for reliability has also helped the company bring in new partners for the Hai Long project. As part of its partnership model, Northland has worked with global organizations to advance its interest in Taiwan. In December 2022, Northland announced it would sell 49% of its stake in the joint venture to Malaysian clean energy company Gentari.
In connection to the announcement, Gentari Chief Renewables Officer Mohammad Azhar noted that “the partnership with Northland offers an opportunity for even greater collaboration in developing other offshore wind opportunities in Taiwan and beyond.” Once the sale is complete, Northland will remain the largest shareholder in Hai Long.
Beyond the success of Hai Long, Northland also participated in the recent Taiwan Round 3 auction, being awarded the 500 MW CanWind site. Longevity in the Taiwan market will no doubt ensure that these new projects progress even faster as Northland’s team gains experience and knowledge.
With projects in Taiwan on track, Northland is turning its attention to other markets in Asia, such as South Korea, where offshore wind projects are still in the early planning stages.
“A key characteristic I believe companies in the wind energy market need is patience,” Povall says. Projects of this scope take time to develop, particularly in markets where the industry – and regulations – are still in their infancy.
Northland’s reputation as a trusted wind farm developer and operator for suppliers and customers has made it the preferred partner in several regional offshore wind projects.
“I think we are seen as a reputable role model in the industry in the region,” says Povall. It seems that in Asia, Northland has found the winning formula for sustainable business.