The wind farm’s turbines are set to begin installation in 2022
UK Export Finance claims to have now provided £500m support since 2019 for three wind projects in Taiwan
Britain’s offshore wind industry secured an export boost yesterday, with the government announcing plans to provide £200m in credit guarantees to help finance a 605MW offshore wind farm in Taiwan through the UK’s export credit agency.
UK Export Finance (UKEF) is providing the buyer credit guarantees to support contractors East Anglia-based maintenance ship operator Seajacks and engineering firm Trelleborg on the Greater Changhua 1 Offshore Wind Farm, which is currently being developed by European renewables gianrØrsted and a Taiwanese-Canadian consortium.
Construction of the wind farm’s turbines is scheduled to begin next year and once operational will provide enough power for around 650,000 households, helping move Taiwan closer towards its goal of generating a fifth of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025, according to UKEF.
Situated around 35-50km off the west coast of Taiwan, the wind farm forms part of the wider Changhua 1 and 2a project, which is set to comprise 900MW of capacity from 111 Seimens Gamesa 8MW turbines.
UKEF said many international offshore wind firms had set up operations in Taiwan recently in the wake of its renewable power target announcement, and that its financing would help UK firms “better access these opportunities”.
Since 2019, UKEF said it had now provided £500m of financing for three offshore wind projects in Taiwan, in a bid to create trading opportunities for UK renewable energy companies and support green jobs.
It comes in the wake of increasing calls for UKEF to halt support for overseas fossil fuel projects, while a recent poll found British exporters overwhelmingly back more climate action from the credit agency.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson late last year pledged to ban British financing of such projects abroad, but there are lingering concerns that until the ban comes into force, yet more fossil fuel projects could win financing support from UKEF, potentially undermining the UK’s climate leadership credentials ahead of COP26.
But International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said supporting projects such as offshore wind in Taiwan demonstrated the government’s efforts to “help the UK lead the world in green growth and drive an exports-led, jobs-led recovery from Covid here at home”.
“Harnessing the power of renewable energy is a vital part of our plan to build back greener from the pandemic,” she said.
Seajacks has been contracted to ship the material needed to install the turbines, while Swedish engineering group Trelleborg’s applied technologies operation in the West Midlands will provide protection systems for the cables which connect the turbines to the mainland, UKEF said.
Seajacks chief operating officer Sebastian Brooke hailed the contract as “an important milestone” for the firm. “This is the second major UKEF-backed project we have supplied to in Taiwan, and we are proud that British vessels will be installing these offshore turbines that will help power Taiwan’s green energy revolution,” he said.