Iberdrola affirms commitment to Taiwan offshore wind despite project setbacks

Vyra Wu, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Iberdrola's "Da Chung Bu Offshore Wind Project" in Taiwan, with a capacity of 1.2 GW, is accompanied by the 350 MW "Guo Feng Offshore Wind Farm." The company has affirmed its dedication to initiating zonal development contractor operations by the end of the year. Yet, the cable routes within the second and third phases of the former project will intersect with Chunghwa Telecom's submarine cables. Following the EIA committee's request for additional and corrected data, the project will undergo a second review at the EIA conference. Iberdrola responded by affirming its priority to develop the first phase of the Project. The region is positioned south of the telco's submarine cables, eliminating the risk of cable crossing.

Encompassing an area of approximately 323 square kilometers, the wind farm is situated at a closest offshore distance of about 35.7 kilometers, with water depths ranging from 40 to 70 meters. The project envisions the installation of a maximum of 128 turbines, each with individual capacities ranging from 14 MW to 22 MW. The cumulative installed capacity is capped at 1,800 MW, and the integration into the grid is anticipated by 2029.

Addressing the Energy Administration of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and discussing the round 3.2 auction, Kevin Liu, Country Manager at Iberdrola Taiwan, points out that the industrial relevance requirements for round 3.2 are more stringent compared to round 3.1, thereby limiting developer choices. He suggests diversifying localization projects to enhance policy flexibility. Furthermore, Liu emphasizes the need for regulatory authorities to consider developer's financial robustness and technical capabilities, especially given global challenges like rising interest rates, inflation, and escalating costs.

Highlighting the extended timeline for wind power project construction and commercialization, Liu stresses the significant deviations between initial plans and current situations. Acknowledging potential external impacts such as wars and oil price fluctuations, he recommends the government postpones the grid connection schedule to 2029 or 2030 for better alignment with actual conditions and to ensure seamless wind farm development.

Despite Europe's early start in wind power development, Liu points out that Taiwan maintains advantages in wind resources, construction schedules, and grid connections. Taiwan's superior wind resources and the efforts of Taiwan Power Company in establishing ample grid connection points offer favorable conditions for wind farm developers. In contrast, Europe faces challenges with an aging power grid, high privatization levels, and government constraints in leading grid improvements.

Iberdrola's recent expansion in the Asia-Pacific region includes ventures in Japan, the Philippines, and Australia, alongside its active involvement in Taiwan. While Russia's invasion of Ukraine has redirected some offshore wind developers to Europe, Iberdrola remains optimistic about Taiwan's prospects due to its advantageous wind resources, construction schedules, and grid connection conditions.

Presently, Iberdrola's global installed capacity in commercialized offshore wind farms is around 1.26 GW, projected to reach 3.1 GW by 2025 and up to 4.8 GW by 2026/2027. Anticipated investments in offshore wind power before 2030 amount to EUR 30 billion, with a total installed capacity exceeding 30 GW.

Iberdrola, the world's second-largest power company by market value, boasts a history spanning over 170 years. Originating as a hydroelectric power company, it later expanded into transmission, distribution, and electricity sales. Since 2000, the company has been dedicated to renewable energy development, with offshore wind power ranking as its second-largest green energy sector. The ongoing construction of wind farms aims to achieve an installed capacity of 5.5 GW, contributing to the overarching goal of reaching 52 GW in total renewable energy installed capacity by 2025.