2024: the commencement of Taiwan's floating wind farm era

Annie Huang, Taipei; Vyra Wu, DIGITIMES Asia 0


Taiwan is making significant strides in the development of floating offshore wind power. As the capacity for wind power in shallow coastal areas gradually reaches its limit, offshore wind developers are turning their attention to floating wind farms. Alongside technical advancements, these companies are also expanding their collaborations with local suppliers in Taiwan and investing in talent development. It is anticipated that 2024 will mark a pivotal year for floating wind farms in Taiwan.

Currently, the offshore wind power market is actively discussing the selection criteria for Round 3.2 zonal development. A couple of companies are not only preparing for bids in Round 3.2 but are also focusing on the floating wind farm demonstration project, aiming to secure a position as a chosen supplier. In early 2023, Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs updated the draft of the floating wind farm demonstration project. This project is currently in the planning stage, and it is estimated that approximately 100 MW of capacity will be made available for supplier selection. This move will accelerate Taiwan's offshore wind power industry into the next phase.

The development of nearshore shallow water areas in Taiwan is nearing saturation, and as a result, wind farms will need to be established in deepwater regions where bottom-fixed turbines are not feasible. Therefore, floating wind farms represent a significant milestone for Taiwan's offshore wind power industry. Given Taiwan's limited prior experience in this field, the government has introduced demonstration wind farms to allow developers to conduct field trials and test new technologies.

Developers believe that floating wind turbines are a key future trend in the offshore wind power industry. They hope to establish a supply chain for floating wind farms in Taiwan, not only to keep the technology within the country but also to actively enter the international market and enhance Taiwan's global reputation in the offshore wind power sector.

Internationally, various developers, such as Ørsted, EDF Renewables, BlueFloat Energy and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), are investing in the research and development of floating wind turbines. Michael Pinkerton, the Country Manager of BlueFloat Energy-Taiwan, expressed confidence in the technology's potential and successfully passed the environmental impact assessment in early October, securing a spot as a selected supplier for the floating wind farm demonstration project.

EDF Renewables shares the enthusiasm for floating wind power technology and is working with partners to develop the world's first tension leg platform (TLP)-based floating demonstration wind farm, known as the Provence Grand Large offshore wind farm. This project will feature three of the largest 8.4 MW floating turbines ever built by a French developer, with a total installed capacity of 25 MW, set to be commissioned in 2024.

In terms of Taiwan, K.D. Wu, General Manager of Taiya Renewable Energy, pointed out that 2024 will be a significant year for floating wind farms. In the coming decade, the proportion of floating wind power in offshore wind development is expected to be no less than 30%. Therefore, he hopes that the demonstration projects will facilitate the use of various technologies and encourage broader participation, allowing the industry to diversify and mitigate risks.

However, the development of floating wind farms in Taiwan will face various challenges. These include the greater distance from ports, requiring larger port areas and increased steel usage compared to traditional fixed turbines. Industry experts believe that the demonstration projects will help assess logistics, infrastructure, and supply chain readiness to ensure that Taiwan's ports and docks are suitable as reference points for future large-scale commercial floating wind farm developments.