Taiwan to develop offshore wind power

Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Huang Chung-chiou said it is not too late for Taiwan to develop offshore wind farm generation, citing Denmark, the UK and Holland, which are still in the initial stages of developing the energy resource.

“Offshore wind energy generation should be given top priority, “ Huang said, adding that the Taiwan Strait has very good locations for developing offshore wind power generation.

The capacity of a wind power generation station located within 20 meters off the coast could reach 1,200 megawatts (MW), which is larger than the capacity of a similar wind power plant on land, Huang said.

If the plant is set up around 20 meters to 50 meters off the coast, its capacity could increase to 5,000 MW — almost equal to the combined capacity of two nuclear power plants, according to Huang.

Yeh Hui-chin, chief of the Bureau of Energy under the MOEA said that offshore areas near central Taiwan’s Changhua and Yunlin counties are suitable sites for developing wind power generation, and the MOEA will propose a plan in July to specify wind farm areas and the capacity needed.

According to the MOEA, the production value of Taiwan’s wind power generation equipment was NT$4 billion (US$128 million) in 2009, with investment from 20 companies. The value of investment is expected to increase by more than NT$1.5 billion per year from 2010.

Huang pointed out that the Teco Group, Formosa Heavy Industries Corp., Yuan Jun Fong, and Taiwan’s China Steel are aggressively taking part in developing the wind power industry.

Taiwan, which relies on coal to generate more than 40 percent of its electricity, aims to boost its wind power capacity eightfold in the next 20 years to help reduce carbon emissions.

The government has set a target to increase Taiwan’s installed wind farm capacity to 3,150 megawatts by 2030 from 372 megawatts currently.

Taiwan Power Co., the island’s state-run electricity producer, has 106 wind turbines in operation, compared with 90 wind turbines run by private companies.

Enercon has won a new wind energy order from Taiwan Power Company for three wind farms in Taiwan. The 900 kW wind turbines are being constructed on Penghu Island. Of the 2.3 MW wind turbines, two are being installed at the Datan wind farm, and the other ten wind turbines are set for at Wei-Kong wind farm.

SeaEnergy PLC and Taiwan Generations Corporation (TGC) will sign a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop offshore wind farm projects in Taiwan.

Taiwan has good wind sites along the west coast, and on the offshore island of Penhu. The total potential of wind power is at least 3,000 MW (including offshore).

After the second energy crisis, Taiwan conducted research on wind power related technology for about 10 years starting in 1980. Wind power resource was investigated, and feasibility study was conducted for some wind power sites. Since 2001, more detailed study was performed using meteorological data between 1996~2000, and WAsP (Wind Atlas Analysis and Application Programme).

Feasibility study has also been completed by collecting and analysing the meteorological, terrain and geological information in the west coast area of Taiwan. By late 2005, a preliminary development plan for an off-shore wind farm has been determined according to the result of a feasibility study.