It's been an amazing three days in Kaohsiung for Wind Energy Asia (WEA). I came with a whole box of business cards and by the end of the expo I had none. Best of all, everybody I managed to connect with there were enthusiastic and committed to the Taiwan's offshore wind development. I'm so glad Unredacted was there to give live-coverage of all three days on my LinkedIn and of course, here on Unredacted.
I consider last year's Wind Energy Asia the place where my offshore wind reporting career truly started since it was here that I met important members of my network that allowed me to deliver the kind of in-depth coverage of the industry that I became recognized for. I will surely be back again next year to meet more supply chain players and tell their stories. Hopefully, I will see you all there!
A lot of old friends and new stopped by the Unredacted booth for a selfie. While there is no substitute to being there yourself and I know at lot of people still could not make it from abroad because of quarantine, luckily the forums are online.
Day One's Bright Outlook forums. I hope that by listing them out with the proper time codes you can use to find the individual talks, this will not only be a great way for those who couldn't make it to Kaoshiung this year to see what they missed, but also would be a useful reference for those who did go and wanted to remember information from the talks, which are helpfully presented in the video with the speakers and slides side-by-side. Great job to our friends at Intercon.
[18:30] William Tang, the director of InvesTaiwan, introduces the program, which incentivizes those looking to invest in Taiwan with favorable loan terms, talent matching, location scouting, and other service.
[30:20] Monica Liu, Project director at Northland Power on why Round 3's apparent competitiveness can be decieving.
[1:00:30] Eiger Law's senior associate Wendy Chu on Offshore Wind supply contracts here in Taiwan.
[1:10:07] Eiger Law's and long-time friend of Unredacted, Holly Chu, talks tax minimization. Including whether being on a non-Taiwan flagged vessel working in Taiwanese waters means you are in Taiwan for tax purposes. Spoiler alert: it's complicated.
[1:21:09] Air Liquid's Martin Tzou on why hydrogen (and ammonia) is coming and how they will play with RE.
[1:56:25] RWE's Yu-Foong Chong on how the floating wind supply chain is up for grabs still for the brave and the bold.
My most important task at Wind Energy Asia was catching up with some excellent Taiwanese vendors who sees the promise of the offshore wind industry and would like to connect with this market with their existing expertise. One of those companies is CIG power. "Our equipment built Kaohsiung," said Judith from CIG power an equipment a commercial and industrial equipment trading, rental and manufacturing company. Indeed, their telescopic boom lifts helped build the Kaohsiung exhibition hall where WEA is held every year. It came back for the less taxing tax of holding up some signage.
I believe CIG Power already has some dealings in the offshore wind industry. They specialize in equipment that allows operators to work safely at height.
"Localization? I have absolutely zero use for localization!" So said Awareocean Technology Co., Ltd.s founder Dr. Hsiang-Chih Chan. "I control the core technology. I didn't bring it in from some place else."
Dr. Chan came out of academia, studying and researching ocean acoustics for 16 years before founding Awareocean, a turnkey solutions company that both take on sound monitoring and cetacean observation as well as a systems integrator that produces their own equipment. I am standing here with Dr. Chan in front of the first 2nd generation sound observation buoy that they put together.
Reducing ocean noise pollution is an imperative for preserving the Taiwanese White Dolphin, of which there are less than 60 individuals, estimated.
Dr. Chan added that he's looking to export his sound detection equipment to Europe and other global markets.
Airas Ascend is the first International Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) certified member in the Taiwan market. They have been working in the offshore industry both in Taiwan, the philippines and offshore. They train as well as operate, with more than 3,500 students trained and 100 projects executed over 16 years as a rope access consultancy. Airas recently started a sister company Greenwish, to do GWO training. Greenwish trainees gets the benefit of taking their training with a company with a long history of practical experience.
Intercon, the folks that organizes WEA each year, was kind enough to give me a speaking slot to talk about localization. I knew I was talking to a room full of pros who probably knew the ins and outs of the IDB's proposal as well as, if not better than, I did. So I didn't want to go over which of the items had to be mandetory and which were optional or other details like that. Instead, I wanted to give people some new concepts and vocabulary to talk about localization. I wanted to introduce the term "export discipline", meaning giving local manufacturers who enjoy a protected market as a part of the government's local content requirements the pressure to export, rather than stay within the protected domestic market.
I was quite nervous, as I knew this was quite an unusual approach. Instead of talking about the offshore wind industry, I talked about the story of two automotive industries: Korea and Malaysia. Why did the Kia succeed while the Proton fail? The difference, I argued, was lack of export discipline from the Malaysians while the Korean government insisted on it. It was many years ago and a different industry, but the same principle applied.
I got a lot of great feedback on the talk! And of course you can watch the whole thing on YouTube.
The highlight of Day 3 was a field trip to the Maritime Technology Field Center.
It's a spacious campus where the next generation of Taiwan's offshore wind talent will be educated, and so much more. In fact, the center's mission is to "be the cradle of Asia's marine technology talents." The Formosa Ocean Basin, a deep water pool that that will be able to stimulate real-life wind, wave and current conditions is already under construction.
As we say goodbye to Kaohsiung for another year, let me leave you with some reasons why you need to be at WEA 2023:
See you there for WEA 2023!
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