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Total acquires stake in Taiwan offshore wind farm
Germany's WPD to sell part of interest in 640MW project off the coast of Yunlin County
5 May 2021 | Michael Marray

French energy major Total has signed an agreement with German renewable energy developer WPD to acquire a 23% interest in Yunlin Holding, the owner of the Yunlin offshore wind farm under construction off the coast of Taiwan. The 640MW project has a 20-year guaranteed-price power purchase agreement (PPA) with state-owned Taiwan Power Company.

Yunlin is at present 48% owned by WPD, 25% by EGCO (Electricity Generating Public Company Limited), and 27% by a consortium of Japanese investors led by Sojitz Corporation (the other Japanese investors being ENEOS Corporation, Chugoku Electric Power, Chudenko Corporation and Shikoku Electric Power). 

Total did not give a price for the stake, saying that it will pay WPD a consideration based on its share of past costs. At project close in 2019, the total project cost was put at 2.7 billion euros (US$3.1 billion at June 2019 exchange rates).

The wind farm is located in the Taiwan Strait around 8 kilometres west of the coast of Yunlin County and around 200 kilometres southwest of Taipei. It is scheduled to be commissioned in early 2022.

The Taiwanese government has been steadily increasing the local content for offshore wind. The transition pieces and towers of the wind turbines for Yunlin have been manufactured by local companies.

Foundations delivered

In February specialized offshore renewables transportation company Jumbo completed the delivery of 40 Yunlin foundations from Europe to Taiwan. The 40 monopiles were manufactured by Steelwind Nordenham in Germany, which also supplied 120 segments for the 40 monopiles manufactured by Taiwan’s Formosa Heavy Industries (FHI) Corporation.

The 40 transition pieces transported by Jumbo from the Netherlands were produced by Smulders, with the remaining 40 delivered by Taiwan’s CTCI Machinery Corporation.

In December 2020 Sapura Energy Berhad installed the first of the 80 monopiles for Yunlin. The contract to transport and install the wind turbine foundations was the Malaysian company's first move into offshore wind.

In late April the first of the 80 Siemens Gamesa 8MW wind turbines was installed, using a jack-up vessel operated by Fred Olsen Windcarrier.

Financial close on Yunlin was reached in May 2019, involving 19 banks and three export credit agencies from Denmark (EKF), Germany (Euler Hermes), and the Netherlands (Atradius).

The financing group comprised four Taiwanese banks (Cathay United Bank, CTBC Bank, E.SUN Bank, and Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank) and 15 international banks (BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, Credit Agricole CIB, DBS Bank, Deutsche Bank, ING Bank, KfW-IPEX Bank, Mizuho Bank, MUFG Bank, Natixis, OCBC, Siemens Bank, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered Bank, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation).

Fast-growing segment

“This agreement provides Total with an opportunity to gain a foothold in one of Asia’s main offshore wind markets and strengthens the group’s position in this fast-growing segment, in line with its strategy of profitable development in renewables worldwide,” Stephane Michel, president for gas, renewables & power at Total, said after the agreement on the equity stake was signed.

Taiwan is one of the priority markets selected by Total for its offshore wind power development in Asia. Offshore wind power will be a significant contributor to Taiwan's objective of generating 20% of its electricity from renewables by 2025, while also fostering the emergence of a local wind power industry.

The acquisition, which is subject to government approval, will broaden Total's portfolio of offshore wind projects under development and construction, which currently stands at about 5.5GW. 

As part of its pledge to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, Total is building a portfolio of activities in renewables and electricity that should account for up to 40% of its sales by 2050.