Offshore wind turbine installations gather pace in Asia

Construction News Vietnam

Offshore wind turbine installations gather pace in Asia

The Asia-Pacific region is taking the lead globally in new installations of offshore wind turbines, increasing demand for turbine manufacturing facilities and metals consumption.

Offshore wind turbines are typically larger than those installed onshore, increasing demand for alloying metals such as chromium, molybdenum and manganese in the steel body and neodymium, dysprosium and cobalt in the generator.

Danish wind turbine manufacturer MHI Vestas has finalised an agreement with Taiwanese supplier Tien Li Offshore Wind Technology to manufacture turbine blades in a facility that will be built in Taiwan. MHI Vestas was awarded firm contracts for two projects in Taiwan with a combined capacity of 589MW and was designated preferred supplier status for a 300MW project.

Taiwan in October installed its first offshore wind farm with a capacity of 128MW and is targeting total installed capacity of 976MW this year and 5.7GW in 2025, the country’s economic affairs ministry said.

Belgian offshore engineering company Deme formed an agreement with Japanese marine contractor Penta-Ocean Construction for the construction of offshore wind farms in Japan. Japan recently signed regulations promoting offshore wind power generation and there is a total of 1.4GW of capacity awaiting environmental impact assessments.

New offshore wind projects

Japanese power supplier Tepco is establishing a joint venture with Danish energy company Orsted to bid for a 1GW offshore wind project in Choshi city when the government opens an auction for the area. Choshi is one of 11 areas the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) has designated for development of offshore wind generation. Tepco will launch a new business arm, Tepco Renewable Power, in April that will focus on developing renewable energy projects.

In China, Dongtai Offshore Wind Power recently signed a deal with French utility EdF for the country’s first foreign investment in an offshore wind farm — the 200MW Phase V of the Dongtai wind farm. The 300MW Phase IV started operation in December last year.

Asia-Pacific installed 2.5GW of offshore wind capacity last year, of a record 6.1GW installed globally, according to Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). China installed 2.4GW of that capacity. Offshore wind globally accounted for 10.1pc of wind power capacity last year, up from 9.6pc a year earlier.

Although the wind power sector has so far been dominated by China, southeast Asia — particularly Vietnam and Thailand — is forecast to play an increasingly key role in the growth of installations, GWEC said. But that growth will depend on the market frameworks the governments put in place. GWEC expects more than 50GW of new offshore wind capacity to be installed globally in 2020-24, rising to a one-fifth share of total wind capacity.

In the onshore sector, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has agreed to supply 25 turbines for a 115MW wind farm in Vietnam, one of the largest projects in the country. Vietnam aims to install 6GW of wind power capacity by 2030. Asia-Pacific accounted for more than half of new onshore wind capacity last year, having installed 28.1GW of a total 54.2GW.

By Nicole Willing