Northern Power Development Inc yesterday said it plans to invest at least NT$150 billion (US$4.96 billion) to develop offshore wind farms off the Changhua County coast in partnership with Yushan Energy Pte Ltd, taking advantage of the government’s push to promote “green” energy.
Canada-based Northern Power and Singapore-based Yushan Energy in 2015 formed a venture, Hai Long Offshore Wind Farm Project Office (海龍離岸風電計畫辦公室), to facilitate the deployment of more than 100 wind turbines at two sites 40km to 50km offshore.
Hai Long is seeking syndicated loans from global and local lenders, and to offer equities to finance the construction, which is set to begin in 2019.
The turbines, which are to have a total capacity of 1.2 gigawatts, are to start commercial operation by 2023 or 2024, Hai Long chief executive officer Chen Tsung-hua (陳聰華) told a news conference in Taipei.
“We hope to become the first in Taiwan to offer grid-scale offshore wind energy,” Chen said.
Upon completion of the wind farm, Hai Long’s wind power capacity would make up about 40 percent of the 3 gigawatts of wind power capacity the government aims to encourage private firms to install by 2025, Chen said.
That is part of the government’s eight-year plan to boost sources of renewable energy to account for 20 percent of overall generation by 2025, while reducing the nation’s reliance on coal-fired and nuclear power from 45 percent and 12 percent to 30 percent and zero percent respectively.
About 22 companies at home and overseas have submitted plans to build offshore wind farms, according to statistics from the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Hai Long said it has submitted an environmental impact assessment to the Environmental Protection Administration for review.
It expects to receive approval from the agency by the end of the year and other permits from other government agencies by June next year.
Hai Long is also looking at other sites to build more offshore wind farms, if the government makes areas available, Chen said.
Hai Long has a direct workforce of about 20 people, which is expected to grow to 120, the company said.
Northern Power is considering the establishment of a wind power storage company to help improve management of electricity delivery, Yushan chairman Ian Hatton said.
“We are in talks with a wind farm storage equipment company to form a power storage [entity]. We are still in the initial stages,” Hatton said.