Development of offshore wind in Taiwan: Formosa offshore wind farms
October 12, 2020 Wind InfoLink
Taiwan, where the offshore wind market is booming, continues to draw foreign investment.
Taiwan’s Swancor Renewable Energy has recently unveiled plans for developing the 4.4 GW Formosa 4 offshore wind projects in Taiwan. Following its Formosa I and Formosa 2 profolios, the company expects to build the Formosa 4-1, Formosa 4-2 and Formosa 4-3 projects in 2021 through 2025 in deep waters off Miaoli County. Swancor also proposes to develop the turbines with floating foundations.
Taiwan’s offshore wind policy and goal
The Taiwanese government strives to raise its installed renewable capacity to 27 GW by 2025, which will make up 20% of the electricity mix. Of which, offshore wind power is expected to reach 5.7 GW, generating 21.5 billion kWh of electricity each year.
Under the offshore wind policy, Taiwan plans to develop 10 GW of offshore wind capacity each year between 2026 and 2035: 2 GW during 2026–2027, 3 GW during 2028–2030, and 5 GW during 2031–2035.
The current policy for wind power development in Taiwan focuses on supply chain localization, under which the maximum capacity for each wind farm is set at 500–600 MW and each developer can be assigned a maximum capacity of 2 GW. Taiwanese suppliers Atech Composites and Tien Li both hope that the localization policy will remain and help keep demand steady from 2026 to 2035.
Located 2 to 6km off the coast of Zhunan Township of Miaoli County in northwestern Taiwan and lies in water depths between 15m and 30m, Formosa 1 is Taiwan’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm. The wind farm is jointly owned by Ørsted, JERA, Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, and Swancor, which holds 35%, 32.5%, 25%, and 7.5% stake, respectively. The wind project was developed in two phases: a demonstration phase that was commissioned in 2017 with two 4 MW Siemens turbines and a commercial phase that was completed in 2019 with 20 6 MW Siemens turbines. With a combined capacity of 128 MW, the wind farm can power 128,000 households in Taiwan.
Formosa 2 lies adjacent to Formosa 1. The wind farm is located 4 to 10km off the coast of Miaoli County in northwestern Taiwan. It is being jointly developed by JERA and Macquarie Capital, and Swancor, which acquires 49%, 26%, and 25% share in the project respectively. Comprising 47 8 MW turbines, the wind farm has a generation capacity of 376 MW. The project, scheduled to go online in 2021, is expected to supply 38,000 households under a 20-year power-purchase agreement signed with state-owned utility firm Taipower.
Formosa 3 (Haiding) is the largest offshore wind project under development in Taiwan. Located 36 to 62km off the coast of Changhua County in western Taiwan and lies in water depth between 20 to 48m, the project is jointly developed by JERA, GIG, and EnBW, which respectively holds 43.75%, 31.25%, and 25% interest in the project. Consisting of three wind farms – Haiding 1 (552 MW), Haiding 2 (732 MW), and Haiding 3 (720 MW), the project has a potential capacity of up to 2 GW. Formosa 3 has passed the environmental impact assessment (EPA) and is applying for grid capacity in the Round 3 of zonal development. The wind farm is expected to become operational in 2025 and generate electricity for 1.5 to 2 million households in Taiwan.
Formosa 4-1, 4-2, 4-3
Swancor has submitted a proposal for Formosa 4 to the Environmental Protection Administration. Before construction, the project needs to secure EPA and government approval, as well as contracts and financing. The portfolio will consist of three sites, including Formosa 4-1, Formosa 4-2, and Formosa 4-3 that will cover a deep-water area located 18 to 20km offshore. With a combined capacity of 4.4 GW, the wind farm is scheduled to complete and begin commercial operation beyond 2025. Once commissioned, it would power 4.5 million households each year. The company said it’s considering both bottom-fixed and floating foundation and the decision will be subject to the site conditions.
Overview of Formosa offshore wind farms
|Wind farm||Formosa 1||Formosa 2||Formosa 3||Formosa 4:
Formosa 4-1, Formosa 4-2, Formosa 4-3
8 MW in Phase 1 and 120 MW in Phase 2
552MW for Haiding 1, 732MW for Haiding 2, 720MW for Haiding 3
|Turbine||Phase 1: 2 x 4 MW Siemens turbines
Phase 2: 20 x 6 MW Siemens turbines
|47 x 8MW||N/A||N/A|
|Location||2–6 km off the coast of Zhunan Township of Miaoli County||4–10 km off the coast of Miaoli County||36–62 km off the coast of Changhua County||18–20 km off the coast of Miaoli County|
|Water depth||15~30m||N/A||20~48m||Deep waters|
|Commercial operation||Phase 1: April 2017
Phase: At the end of 2019
|No. of households served per year||128,000||380,000||1.5–2 million||4.5 million|
|Current status||Operational||Passed the EPA in 2018; it’s expected to enter Phase 3 selection in 2020.||Applying for grid connection and preparing for the Phase 3 of zonal development.||Proposal submitted to the Environmental Protection Administration, awaiting EPA results and government approval.|
Source: Wind InfoLink
Swancor Renewable Energy’s offshore wind portfolio
Since 2016, Swancor has been involved in the operational 128 MW Formosa 1 wind farm, the 376 MW Formosa 2 being constructed, and Formosa 4, a 4.4 GW utility-scale project that the company will be developing.
Swancor was left out of the list of developers for the 2 GW Formosa 3 in April 2018. Having no project to undertake during 2021–2025, the company turned to the development of Phase 3 of Zonal Development.
On June 20, 2019, Taiwan’s Swancor sold 95% of its stake in Swancor Renewable Energy, 25% stake in Formosa 2 and 7.5% in Formosa 1 to Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, a New York-based fund manager.
Swancor’s offshore wind development timeline:
- 2012: Engaging in offshore wind farm development.
- October 2016: Completed the demonstration phase of Formosa I, Taiwan’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.
- January 26, 2017: Swancor signed an agreement with Ørsted for 35% stake in Formosa I.
- March 28, 2018: Swancor signed an MoU with MHI Vestas for the supply of infusion resin for turbine blades manufacturing.
- April 20, 2018: Swancor entered the first phase selection of Formosa 3 wind farm.
- April 27, 2018: Swancor was eliminated in the second phase of Formosa 3.
- Oct. 3, 2018: Swancor signed a supply contract with SGRE for turbine components for Formosa I Phase 2.
- June 2019: Swancor signed conditional contract with SGRE and GIG for Formosa 2.
- June 20, 2019: Swancor sold 95% of its share in its renewable unit to Stonepeak.
- April 29, 2020: Swancor signed a supply deal with MHI Vestas for blade materials.
Except the Formosa 3 (Haiding) wind farm that is located off the coast of Changhua, the remaining Formosa projects lie in waters off Miaoli County. As the Formosa wind farms show a trend of moving into deeper waters where strong wind can help lower electricity prices, floating wind turbine is essential to Taiwan’s offshore wind development. Given Taiwan’s vast potential, developers including JERA and Macquarie Group both took part in Formosa 1, 2 and 3 wind projects.
Wind InfoLink opinion:
Swancor will focus on developing Formosa 4 wind farm from 2021-2025. Although the company has yet to decide the type of wind turbines it will use in the deep water wind farm, floating wind turbines are likely to be widely used.
Formosa 3 and Formosa 4 wind farms are expected to come into commercial operation in 2025. However, the policy that set a 500-600 MW capacity cap for each wind farm may affect the commissioning time, as the generation capacity of Haiding 2, Haiding 3, Formosa 4-1, Formosa 4-2, and Formosa 4-3 may exceed the capacity limit. So, the government might have to revise the policy or developers have to divide the wind farm to ensure smooth development of these projects.
Details on the development of Formosa 3 wind farm will be released in the final quarter of 2020.
Although Formosa 4 wind farms are expected to come online in 2025, it will take around a year to receive EPA and government approval and 2-3 years of time to construct a wind farm. Considering that Formosa 4 is large in scale and it may use floating wind turbines, Wind InfoLink suggest lengthening the construction time by 1 to 2 years for estimates.
Formosa 4-1 and OWF Yunlin wind farms are expected to complete construction this year. However, staff shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the project until next year.
With active industry-academic partnerships and the government’s supportive policy to accelerate wind supply chain localization, Taiwan is likely to emerge as one of the largest offshore wind markets in Asia Pacific.
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