Taiwan and the US to benefit from European offshore wind energy expertise

Europe remains the undisputed leader in offshore wind, and is ready to offer its expertise and know-how to emerging high-potential markets like the USA and Taiwan.

This was the key message stressed at a conference session discussing global market developments at Offshore Wind Energy 2017 in London this morning. During the session, chaired by Ben Backwell (FTI Consulting, UK), key global offshore wind market representatives gave policy and project updates and an analysis of consenting and funding models.

Ulrik Stridbaek (Head of Regulatory Affairs, DONG Energy) emphasised Taiwan’s commitment to becoming the Asian front runner in offshore wind energy. He highlighted clear build-out targets and room for additional volumes. According to Stridbaek, Taiwan will phase out its nuclear capacity by 2025 and reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% before 2050. While the maturation of the European offshore industry will greatly benefit Taiwan, Stridbaek emphasised that the key drivers for development and for bringing costs down will be a regional supply chain combined with technology adapted to local conditions and an experienced workforce.

Lucas Lin, President of Swancor Renewable Energy Co., Ltd, Taiwan, took up the issue of challenges to offshore wind in Taiwan. Lin highlighted that the biggest challenges to overcome were instability of stakeholder involvement and limitations in both infrastructure and supply chain. Nevertheless, he concluded that the future looks very bright for wind energy in Taiwan, both on- and off- shore. With onshore wind nearly mature, offshore wind farms will be the spotlight of wind power going forward: 20% of Taiwan’s electricity will be supplied by Renewable Energy by 2025, and wind energy will reach 4.2 GW by the same year.

Looking to the US offshore sector, both Jason Folsom (Offshore Americas, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy) and Jose Zayas (U.S. Department of Energy) were similarly optimistic about the large potential for offshore energy stateside. Zayas said that the opportunity for new electrical generation in US coastal regions is roughly 2,400 TWh by 2050. He also emphasised the potential for floating wind: while the LCOE (levelised cost of electricity) of fixed-bottom installations could reach $93 US per MW/h by 2030, the LCOE of floating could reach $89 US per MW/h. These costs, he added, include grid connection.

In light of recent political events in the US, there was some discussion regarding the benefits wind energy will bring the US. These included the creation of 160,000 jobs, savings of $50bn US in avoided damages related to greenhouse gas emissions, and a saving of $2bn US in avoided mortality connected to air pollution.