Locally Made Components for Taiwan's Growing Offshore Wind Sector

Locally made components for Taiwan's offshore wind farms
Image courtesy of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind

Published Nov 1, 2020 5:17 PM by The Maritime Executive

Taiwan has a rapidly developing offshore wind energy sector supported by the government’s goal of growing renewable energy sources. The development of Taiwan’s offshore wind industry is seen as a model for other Asian countries and includes efforts to develop locally-sources components that can also be marketed globally.

The Taiwanese government is following a policy calling for the phasing out of the country’s nuclear power plants by 2025, which currently account for nearly 10 percent of the island’s total electricity generation. To replace the more than 5,000 MWe generated from the nuclear plants, the government has a goal to increase the capacity of its wind generation facilities up to 5,500 megawatts.

In 2017, combined wind and solar made up approximately one percent of Taiwan’s power generation. Over the next five years, the plans call for Taiwan to grow renewable energy to reach 20 percent of the island’s generated electricity with the remainder coming from coal and natural gas.

MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Vestas Wind Systems A/S has contracts to deliver the turbines to Taiwan’s wind projects between 2021 and 2024. The MHI Vestas order comprises nearly one hundred V174-9.5 MW turbines for three offshore wind farms in Taiwan. 

As part of the initiative, they are also seeking to build a local supplier network as part of an effort to build Taiwan’s wind industry. Germany’s Fassmer, a builder of specialized ships and components for offshore wind farms, formed a new partnership with Taiwan’s Atech Composites, Fassmer Atech Composites Taiwan Co. (FACT), to meet the need for locally manufactured components for Taiwan’s projects.

“While the offshore wind supply chain is advancing in Taiwan through our early projects, creating opportunities for knowledge transfer is important,” said Maida Zahirovic, MHI Vestas Taiwan Business Director. “The joint venture between Fassmer, a known supplier for wind products, and Atech Composites, a skilled manufacturer with a top-class facility, is a perfect fit for building technical knowledge in spinner and nacelle covers in Taiwan.”

Fassmer, which has been building components for the European wind energy sector since 1998, will work with Atech, which specialized in custom-made composites, to build nacelle and spinner covers in Kaohsiung City in Taiwan. The production of the first nacelle and spinner covers for MHI Vestas will start this fall in Berne, Germany, with production scheduled to begin in Taiwan in the second quarter of 2021. 

“We are delighted to be working with MHI Vestas to supply some of the first offshore wind projects in Taiwan with locally-made spinner covers and nacelle covers,” said Holger Fassmer, Managing Director at Fassmer and Chairman of the Board at FACT. “Our joint venture with Atech Composites, and this contract, creates significant value for the offshore wind supply chain in Taiwan. The production of spinner covers and nacelle covers for MHI Vestas’ V174 platform will ensure that these components made in Taiwan become globally competitive through consistency in volume.”

The components manufactured by FACT will be used at MHI Vestas’ Changfang Phase 2, Xidao and Zhong Neng projects. The spinner covers and nacelle covers will be made of a composite glass fiber material and protect the wind turbine systems from the external environment at sea, particularly valuable for often-harsh conditions off the coast of Taiwan.