Spain’s BlueFloat Energy made its debut in Taiwan in May 2022, launching the “Winds of September” Offshore Wind Project. The ambitious project’s capacity reaches an impressive 1GW. With their sights set on the government’s floating wind power demonstration initiative, BlueFloat is well-equipped and poised to participate. They have even proffered advice to the government, suggesting the release of tender rules by the third quarter and advocating for three winning slots to allow the testing of varied technologies.
BlueFloat successfully deployed floating LiDAR for the “Winds of September” project off Hsinchu’s coast in March 2023, in anticipation of the upcoming demonstration project slated for the end of the year. The company has also initiated the environmental impact assessment review for this project. This aligns with the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ plan, which includes raising the single wind farm capacity limit from 50 MW to 100–200 MW. The Ministry aims to commence the selection process in the fourth quarter of 2023, with a goal of grid connection by 2027–2028.
There are currently eleven nations spearheading the development of floating wind turbines, with global capacity projected to exceed 30 GW before 2023. Carlos Martin, CEO of BlueFloat Energy, opines that countries worldwide are eying the untapped potential of deeper waters to harness more wind energy. Furthermore, advancements in floating wind turbine technology are pacing fast, having reached a commercially viable scale. Current plans include floating wind power projects on the American coasts, with the UK, France, Norway, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan also in the race.
Martin suggests fast-tracking pre-commercial demonstration projects to expedite the development of floating turbines, underpinning the fact that the technology has been tried and tested. He emphasizes the need for the bidding rules to incorporate the feed-in tariff (FIT), a crucial factor for attracting potential investors to the demonstration project, thereby bolstering Taiwan’s pioneering role in the Asia Pacific’s floating wind power sector.
Echoing his approach to the initial offshore wind power demonstration project, BlueFloat recommends the government allocate three winning quotas to enable operators to trial different floating platform technologies. This would not only maximize learning opportunities but also help identify a suitable pathway for Taiwan. Despite Taiwan’s vulnerability to typhoons and its location on an earthquake belt, Martin is optimistic about the current technology’s resilience and expresses a prerference for semi-submersible technology, deeming it best suited for Taiwan’s environmental conditions and supply chain capabilities.
In view of the supply chain’s capacity and requisite infrastructure, Martin urges the government to disclose tender rules by the third quarter of 2023 to facilitate early preparations by developers. He further underlines the need for workforce training in floating wind turbine technology, investments in local manufacturing, and related industries. He believes early rule announcement would give the market a long-term perspective.
BlueFloat Energy is already engaging with different supply manufacturers and Taiwan’s port authorities, laying the foundation for future collaborations and ensuring alignment with local supply capacity. Martin concedes that the 2027–2028 grid connection timeline is feasible but calls for urgency in rule announcement and fulfilment of supply chain and port operation requirements.
(Image Source: BlueFloat Energy)