First impressions of our East Asia Business Developer in Taiwan.
Within the APAC region Taiwan is a frontrunner in view of the transition towards renewable energy, having released in 2022 its “pathway to net zero emissions by 2050”. This pathway includes Taiwan plans on introducing 1.5GW of offshore wind capacity per year between 2026 and 2035. Whilst speaking, the auctions (also called round 3 auctions) for these capacities are ongoing. Floating wind will make its entry as well, seen the Bureau of Energy has promoted developers to submit projects including floating technology for the round 3 auctions.
Having been here for almost a month now (or let’s say three weeks since I did spend a week in quarantine), I feel there’s already quite some things to tell about the offshore wind scene here. For one thing, offshore wind is bound to succeed despite the obstacles it is facing. Taiwan is phasing out of nuclear energy by 2025, giving room to renewables and gas fired power as a backup. Furthermore Taiwan is known for its semiconductor industry, since this industry is part of the supply chain of global companies with stringent sustainability KPIs to be achieved from corporate level, the need for renewable energy is clearly communicated. The stakes are therefore high, and hopes are even higher business can finally continue as usual now Covid-19 measures globally seem to decrease. As for the ongoing windfarms, we have seen some new market pains and delays due to Covid-19. For the round 3 auctions and future auctions to come, localization will be the first topic to be addressed.
Zooming in on the subsea cables, I do feel I have only discovered the tip of the iceberg (pun intended). Taiwan has around 120 km of operational offshore wind subsea cables in its waters. If we look at all the planned windfarms where cable data is available as well as at windfarms under construction, the current pipeline is already around an astonishing 2100 km of projected subsea cables.
Giving insights into the health status of subsea cables is the core business of Marlinks. Particularly for the Asian market we see an increased future need for predictive maintenance. By establishing a representative office in Taipei, our goal is to better understand the risks the Taiwanese offshore wind market deals with at this moment and will deal with in the future O&M phase. How can Marlinks assist in keeping subsea cable O&M costs low?
Taiwan is prone to seismic activity leading to soil liquefaction, and these unstable seabeds cause subsea cables to either sink deeper, become exposed or get into freespan. Subsea cables management is steadily increasing on the priority list for developers and I do feel developers and industry connoisseurs agree that there are better ways to monitor these critical assets than to rely on traditional surveying methods. Taiwan is known to be a tech savvy country where the appetite for disruptive technologies is highly appreciated. Passive monitoring systems without the need of sensors, such as ours, also has as advantage that H&S risks linked to surveying or installation of sensors can be eliminated as well as guarantee a clean CO2 balance sheet. And we haven’t even started yet on the projected cable repair vessel shortage which could endanger quick cable repair. Better prevent than repair?
Since Taiwan is not only offshore wind and subsea cables, let’s finish with some small anecdotes from daily life which caught my attention:
- Line. The most popular messenger app in Taiwan is used for both informal as formal communication. Casually sending over emojis to industry partners has been approved.
- Umbrellas. Versatile instrument to protect both against unexpected yet heavy rainfalls (rumour has it rainy season is ending soon) as well as sunburn.
- Dogs. I truly believe dogs are even better groomed than human beings in Taiwan.
Get to know more about Marlinks and our activities in East Asia.
Contact Iris via email@example.com for our East Asia activities and for our activities in other countries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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BOPTIC research project
The project idea originated from the understanding that it is crucial to have the knowledge and tools to detect and mitigate failures in cables and foundations of offshore wind farms as this is the key to large cost reductions and to economically viable wind production as an energy source.