TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Japanese trading house Mitsui and Co. Ltd announced that it is buying a 50 percent stake in Taiwanese wind farm developer Yushan Energy Co. in a move intended to give them a stake in one of Taiwan’s major offshore wind farms.
Yushan Energy Co, which is part of Singapore’s Enterprize Energy, owns 40 percent of the Hai Long Offshore Wind development, which is situated in the Taiwan Strait, off the coast of Changhua. The development is still at the planning stage at the moment and is expected to cost around US$1.8 billion (NT$53.8 billion) to develop.
Taiwan is viewed as an ideal location for offshore wind farms given the strong winds that whip along the Taiwan Strait. And with the Taiwanese Government committed to moving the country away from nuclear power, there is a clear motivation to invest in green power solutions such as wind.
There is also a demand to get projects up and running quickly. Taiwan’s spare generation capacity has grown perilously small in recent years. This has led to warnings that, as energy consumption grows, blackouts could become more likely in the not too distant future.
For this reason, Taiwan has prioritized green energy projects and the government has recently picked seven different companies to lead work on the creation of more than 3.8 gigawatts of offshore wind farms by 2025.
The Hai Long Offshore Wind development will have a capacity of 300 megawatts, making it one of the smaller developments being planned. The agreement reached with the Taiwan government will see it selling electricity back to the Taiwanese grid based on a fixed 20-year feed-in tariff agreement at a price of US$199 a megawatt-hour.
The total spend on these projects is expected to be around US$32.5 billion (NT$962.5 billion). With such high costs, Taiwan is keen to attract plenty of overseas investment to these projects, so the involvement of Mitsui and Co. Ltd will be a seen as a real coup. They have experience of investing in overseas wind farms, notably in the UK, but this is their first such venture in Taiwan.
The remaining 60% of the Hai Long Offshore Wind development is owned by Canadian company Northland Power Inc. Together with Yushan, they hope to expand offshore capacity in the Changhua Sea area and have already begun scoping out other potential areas for investment.
The addition of Japanese investors to the project can only help to move it forward and help Taiwan’s long-term and ambitious goal to develop to create a balanced energy supply, without the need for nuclear power. It is a popular aim and one the majority of Taiwanese people can already see good progress towards.