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The first offshore wind farm in Taiwan is on its way

Photo: cowi

COWI has won a contract to design the foundations for Taiwan’s first offshore wind farm. The farm will be located in a seismically active region implying further demands on the design process.

​An offshore wind production of 10 GW built up over the course of 15 years is set to  increase by as much as  10 GW every single year. According to several prognoses, that is how much the demand for offshore wind farms will accelerate in the future.

The increasing demand has also spread to Taiwan, where ambitious political goals to rid the nation of fossil fuels and to be become self-sufficient in energy have led to the decision to construct the nation's first offshore wind farm.

Risk of strong earthquakes and typhoons

COWI has been tasked with preparing the detailed design of the wind turbine foundations – a rapidly expanding business area for the consulting engineering group.

COWI's projects have included provision of consultancy services for the world's largest offshore wind farm, The London Array, which has 175 wind turbines, but the Taiwan project will involve COWI for the first time ever, in designing the foundations for an offshore wind farm in an earthquake zone.

"Naturally, the risk of earthquake and typhoons places further demands on the durability of the foundations. Consequently, we're relying on a wide range of COWI experts who understand the implications of construction work in earthquake regions," says Martin Møller, Project Manager of the Taiwan offshore wind farm project.

Among other things, COWI is able to draw on its years of experience undertaking major bridge projects, such as the Buzan-Geoje link in South Korea, which is also located in an earthquake and typhoon hazard zone.

“The turbine is located at a height 100 meters, and its weight is equivalent to the weight of more than 100 elephants. Thus, when exposed to the extreme wind speed of a typhoon, up to 250 km/h it will lead to severe stresses on the foundations. In addition to this comes the risk of strong earthquakes. In other words, there is an obvious need for thorough geotechnical, structural and hydraulic analyses of the ground conditions to determine the optimal foundation design,” says Martin Møller.

Bringing more specialists onboard

An analysis by the Confederation of Danish Industry states that the COP21 climate agreement signed last year may affect the many Danish companies involved in energy technology significantly, COWI included. If the national plans that the US, China, the EU and Mexico committed to, are implemented as promised, Danish companies will have a chance of doubling their export to these countries amounting to an increase from DKK 60 billion in 2014 to DKK 120-125 billion by 2030, the analysis concludes.

To be able to take on even more projects contributing to the global transition to renewable energy sources, COWI acquired the Norwegian company TDA Engineering last December, thereby bringing on board an additional 14 highly skilled specialists in offshore wind projects and major bridges.

“Our experience covers all three main foundation types: monopiles, jackets and gravity foundations, which ensures a better basis for decision-making and reduces risks on projects overall This is absolutely vital to the customer. This was definitely the case for Taiwan, a new player in this field and therefore dependent on external consultancy and guidance," says Jan Rønberg, Project Director of Offshore Wind at COWI.

COWI has already completed the detailed design of two of the 32 foundations for the Taiwan wind farm. These will serve as prototypes for the remaining 30.

COWI has seen a vast increase in turnover on offshore wind projects and is currently involved in detailed design of offshore wind farms amounting to some DKK 45 billion in construction costs.

FACTS

Formosa I OWF will have a capacity of 130 MW and will be located three to six kilometres off the west coast of Taiwan, covering an area of 11 km².

Construction works will be carried out by Formosa I Wind Power Co., Ltd., with COWI acting as consultant to Sinotech Engineering Consultants, Inc.

Formosa I OWF is scheduled for completion in 2019 as the first of a series of offshore wind farms in Taiwan.

LAST UPDATED: 10.05.2017