FRANKFURT: German utility EnBW has made its first investment outside Europe as part of the group’s renewables expansion, taking stakes in three offshore wind projects in Taiwan with a volume of about 2 gigawatts.
EnBW, one of the smaller players in Germany‘s energy sector, has been expanding aggressively into offshore wind power, aiming to raise the share of profit generated from renewable energy as part of its 2020 transformation strategy.
EnBW said it had acquired 37.5 percent in each of the three projects, adding it had entered a partnership with energy infrastructure investor Macquarie and Taiwan-based chemicals and composite material maker Swancor .
The company said it will invest a low triple-digit million euro amount in the projects to prepare them for construction, adding that spending could rise drastically thereafter. Based on figures for currently planned rival projects in Europe, total investment could be more than 5 billion euros ($6.13 billion).
“In moving into project development in Taiwan, we have opened the latest chapter in our offshore wind activities,” Dirk Guesewell, head of generation portfolio development at EnBW, said in a statement.
“The expertise that we have built up in the offshore wind sector in the last few years is in demand worldwide, and we want to export it.”
Taiwan, which is planning to phase out nuclear power in a similar fashion to Germany, has declared its intent to expand offshore wind farms to plug the resulting gap if all atomic power stations are shut down.
EnBW’s Danish rival Orsted, the world’s largest operator of offshore wind farms, is already active in Taiwan, where the local offshore wind market is expected to grow to T$121.8 billion ($4.15 billion) in 2025.
Dubbed Formosa 3, EnBW’s projects will be built 40-50 kilometres off the Taiwanese coast in waters 35-50 metres deep and could qualify for agreed take-up prices of 160 euros per megawatt hour (MWh), higher than those currently paid in Europe.
EnBW, Germany’s fifth-largest listed energy group, has said that it plans to invest more than five billion euros to expand its renewables business by 2025. It aims to double the share of renewable profits to 30 percent of the total by 2020 from 15 percent in 2016. ($1 = 0.8153 euros) ($1 = 29.3340 Taiwan dollars)