Business

Hitachi to take part in Taiwan's shift in energy policy

Kyodo

Hitachi Ltd. and a Belgium company have signed a contract with Taiwan’s state-owned power utility to build offshore wind turbines on the island’s west coast as part of the government’s ambitious plan to replace nuclear power with renewable energy.

While the Jan De Nul Group will be responsible for the design and installation of the wind turbines and cables off- and onshore in Chunghua County, Hitachi will be in charge of manufacturing, assembly, operation and maintenance of the 21 offshore wind turbines each with a generation capacity of 5.2 megawatts (MW).

Speaking at the signing ceremony Monday, Hitachi President Toshiaki Higashihara said it is the company’s first wind energy project overseas and the first time his company with work with Taiwan Power Co., or Taipower.

“This is the first step,” he said. “As the wind turbines are specially designed to withstand cyclonic winds, they are perfect for Asian countries prone to typhoons.”

Delivery of the wind turbines is scheduled for early 2020, with test operations slated to begin that summer. They are scheduled to go online by the end of 2020.

The Democratic Progressive Party government has set a 2025 target for phasing out nuclear power generation and developing the green energy to help replace it. The shift in energy policy is based on concerns over nuclear safety that flared up after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

President Tsai Ing-wen seeks to increase the percentage of renewable energy from the current 4 percent to 20 percent by 2025. She hopes to increase electricity generated by solar energy from the current 0.4 percent to 10 percent.

To that end, her government has formulated a two-year plan to install solar panels on rooftops and in large wind farms, all on unused public property.

It has similar hopes for wind energy. Now generating only 0.6 percent of Taiwan’s power, the government hopes to see it account for at least 5 percent by 2025.

A four-year plan has been formulated to build land-based and offshore wind power plants, stretching from New Taipei in northern Taiwan to the Hengchun Peninsula on the southern tip of the island, over the next two years.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs announced Monday it has chosen seven companies to participate in the offshore wind farm project.

Under the plan, installed capacity will be over 738 MW by 2020, soaring to 3,098 MW between 2021 and 2025. Among the wind farms, those in Chunghua County, central Taiwan, will generate the most electricity at about 2,400 MW, or nearly 63 percent of the total.

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