One of the world’s leading offshore wind energy companies, MHI Vestas, has signed its fifth Memorandum of Understanding in Taiwan, solidifying its readiness for the first round of Taiwan offshore wind projects, and confirmed it’s 9 megawatt (MW) wind turbines will be typhoon-ready by 2020.
The explosive development of the Taiwanese offshore wind market continues apace this week as MHI Vestas, the offshore wind joint venture between Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has announced the signing of its fifth Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TECO and The Switch for the delivery of generator products. TECO is a dedicated Taiwanese producer of industrial motors, while The Switch is a Yaskawa company and a specialist in advanced drive train technology based in Finland.
“Signing the MOU today with industrial leaders TECO and The Switch is a very important step for us in the rollout of our localisation plan,” said MHI Vestas Co-CEO Lars Bondo Krogsgaard. “We have been quite impressed with their capabilities and very much look forward to advancing our discussions with them.”
“TECO has been engaged in wind power for years, mainly for producing onshore wind turbine generators,” added Sophia Chiu, TECO chairman. “Only via local assembly of wind turbines by system manufacturers in Taiwan can a local supply chain be established, leading to the localisation of related technology, manufacturing, and maintenance capabilities. Together with our partners, TECO will target not only Taiwan but also other global markets, including Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific markets.”
This is the fifth MoU MHI Vestas has signed in Taiwan in the last couple of months, following the announcement in late March of the signing of four MoUs with Taiwanese companies, namely CSMC for wind towers, Tien Li for blade manufacturing, Swancor for composites and resins, and Formosa Plastics Corporation for materials for blade manufacturing.
“The Taiwan offshore wind market has impressively put itself in a front-runner position in the region,” explained incoming MHI Vestas CEO, Philippe Kavafyan. “Having the benefit of early selection of a portfolio of projects allows us to enter into these manufacturing agreements with great confidence. We are honoured to announce these partnerships today – partnerships that will spur the expansion of highly-skilled, local manufacturing jobs.”
In addition to announcing its latest MoU signing, MHI Vestas also confirmed that its 9 MW wind turbines — which it first unveiled in January of 2017 — will be fully upgraded and typhoon-ready in 2020, fit for the unruly conditions expected in the region. MHI Vestas has been working with the international accredited registrar and classification society DNV GL and customers to ensure its 9 MW turbines are designed with the region’s harsh typhoons in mind.
“From a technology point of view, we’re proud to announce that our 9 MW turbine platform will be typhoon ready by 2020, putting us in a leading position for the early projects in Taiwan and ensuring that our turbine will be ready for the demanding Taiwanese site conditions,” explained Lars Bondo Krogsgaard.
The combined announcements, according to Krogsgaard, “underscore” the company’s “growing activity and firm commitment to the Taiwan offshore wind market. We are extremely proud to be a part of Taiwan’s clean energy transition.”
In fact, MHI Vestas is simply one of three major wind energy giants moving into the Taiwan market over the last year as the country shapes up to be the next big offshore wind playground. Wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa and wind energy giant Ørsted have each begun making inroads into the country.
Siemens Games has itself signed several MoUs in Taiwan, announced in December and February to solidify its supply base in the area and open the door to a new manufacturing and deployment hub for the company in the region.
“The offshore wind industry in Taiwan is today looking at over 10 [gigawatt (GW)] of projects under planning according to official information,” explained Andreas Nauen, CEO Offshore, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy in December. “During 2017, strong supportive signs were shown by the Taiwanese government, with detailed grid capacity planning, and an increase of the long term ambitions. Similarly, significant milestones have been completed in the rest of the region. Japan is developing the first utility-scale projects, and Korea has now commissioned their first commercial-sized offshore wind power plant. We look forward to helping ensure that the right infrastructure is in place, as well as maintaining efforts towards further cost reductions.”
And in early April, Siemens Gamesa was awarded the wind turbine supply contract for the newly confirmed 120 MW expansion of Taiwan’s landmark Formosa 1 offshore wind project — a project which, among others, is backed by Danish wind energy giant Ørsted.
Ørsted first entered the Taiwanese market back in January of 2017 when it acquired a 35% stake in the Formosa 1 project (when the company was named DONG Energy), but has since begun work on its own offshore wind project, the 2 GW Greater Changhua offshore wind project which, only a few weeks ago, was awarded 900 MW grid capacity. Specifically, the allocated grid capacity will allow Ørsted to proceed with the development of the 605 MW Changhua 1 offshore wind farm, and a smaller 295 MW Changhua 2 offshore wind farm, with the remaining potential capacity hoped to be allocated over future auction rounds.
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