Developers eyeing Taiwan’s upcoming floating market will be going into the year of the Rabbit with an extra spring in their step. On Jan 18, 2023, the Bureau of Energy updated the plans for the floating demos announced back in August. Recall they were for 2 demos 50MW each in size to connect to grid by 2026. Developers quickly reflected that the small size (the equivalent to three modern turbines) and unrealistically early COD date were impediments to viability.
According to the second policy explanation hearing, the following changes have been made which greatly expanded the scope of the demo project, as well as relaxed the grid connection date to 2028.
The biggest change is instead of a 50MW capacity cap per demo, the project size is now defined as “6-12 floaters.” This means, assuming a turbine of 15MW each, the capacity will be from 90 to 180MW. This is well within the ballpark of previous calls by developers for capacity of 100 to 200MW. This will lead to better economy of scale for the developers and allow for a lower Feed-in-tariff.
The previous grid connection deadline of 2026 was widely seen as unfeasible. It has been delayed to 2028.
The BOE also said there will be one possible additional project. No strict localization rules have been imposed. Instead, developers who show that they can collaborate with local producers will get extra points when the projects are evaluated.
The Feed-in-tariffs that will support these projects is still to be announced. Project selection will take place in the last quarter of 2023.
THE UNREDACTED TAKE
It’s a relief that the Bureau of Energy has course-adjusted on the plans for the proposed floating demonstration projects. As hotly-anticipated as these are, we have to keep in mind what it is they are meant to demonstrate. We already know through the success of the Kincardine project in Scotland and others that floating wind turbine foundations do indeed work. The only thing demos smaller than that will demonstrate in Taiwan is how expensive floating projects can actually be when not done to a sensible scale.
The decision to designate “number of platforms” rather than maximum capacity in the size of the projects raises the interesting possibility: What if a developer decides to put two turbines on each foundation? Would they get to then double their capacity and therefore their FIT?
Taiwan is rapidly running out of suitable sites for bottom-fixed projects. After the 6 projects of Round 3.1 (for construction 2026/2027) already awarded, we probably have just enough for the 6 projects of Round 3.2 (for construction 2028/2029). After that, if all planned projects are completed according to schedule, we will be pushed into deeper waters, one way or another.
Hopefully the floating demos would be able to show us the way forward by then.
UDN: Floating project extended until 2028 (Chinese language)
World Forum Offshore Wind’s David Chiang, LI post
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