Offshore wind turbines to transformTaiwan’s energy industry

Taiwanese government is actively developing offshore wind power, which will be an important factor in transforming Taiwan’s overall energy structure. While inspecting the nation’s first two offshore wind turbines in Miaoli County, just completed in October, Premier  Lin  Chuan pledged that the government will also safeguard neighboring ocean and fishery resources.

The two new demonstration turbines show that Taiwan has entered a new stage in the development of offshore wind power, bringing new opportunities for businesses and economic prosperity, while also serving as a milestone in the structural transformation of the nation’s energy industry, the premier said.

Lacking natural energy resources, Taiwan’s economic development relies on energy imports and nuclear power to ensure a steady supply of energy. With the threat of global climate change and increasingly grave concerns about nuclear safety, developing renewable energy has become an international trend, and Taiwan urgently needs to transform its energy structure.

Rich in wind and solar resources, Taiwan boasts great potential for wind and solar power generation, Premier Lin said. In terms of industrial development and domestic market growth, promoting the offshore wind power industry will increase domestic employment opportunities, improve technologies and benefit peripheral businesses. It will also attract more international enterprises, which will help Taiwan accumulate experience in the manufacture, maintenance and operation of wind power turbines and become a model for the international market. There is still a lot of room for development in offshore wind power generation, as countries worldwide are still at the startup stage, the premier said, adding that Taiwan would have to get a head start in the field to secure more opportunities.

Next year will also see significant results from the Executive Yuan’s solar power development project, the premier said, adding that amendments to the Electricity Act will hopefully expand possibilities for solar power generation and make solar power more accessible.

Promoting the new energy policy must start with energy conservation, energy storage, energy creation and system integration, the premier said. The government will proactively develop renewable energy sources targeting solar and wind power, introduce “smart” electric meters and time-of-use rate structures, and help domestic energy conservation industries grow. Considering the uncertainties associated with solar and wind power generation, energy storage systems should be incorporated into any plans to distribute electricity and maintain a stable power supply, and system management will have to be strengthened as well.

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), in the year 2025 solar and wind power are expected to account for 20 percent of domestically generated electrical power. Installed capacity of offshore wind power is projected to reach 3 million kilowatts that year, producing an estimated 11.1 billion kilowatt hours of green energy annually—or 4.3 percent of gross electricity generated—and drive investments worth NT$540 billion (US$17.1 billion).

The MOEA also said that formal commercial operations for the two completed wind turbines are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of next year to demonstrate the feasibility of offshore wind turbine installation-related regulations, technologies and finances. Potential offshore wind farm locations and regulations governing location planning and application have also been made public so that interested investors can conduct surveys and make plans. Offshore wind farms will be promoted in geographical sectors to achieve economies of scale, while the government will initiate policy measures to coordinate environmental assessments, infrastructure and the required administrative arrangements.


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