Taipower Phase I Demonstrative Project could face delay due to Pandemic Prevention Measures
By WindTAIWAN / 2020-09-10
Offshore wind industry, as a crucial alternative of Taiwan’s energy supply, like many industries around the world, is heavily impacted by the global pandemic as many foreign technicians are impeded from or prevented to work on Taiwan’s wind farm project due to travel restriction and/or quarantine measures.
Offshore wind industry, as a crucial alternative of Taiwan’s energy supply, like many industries around the world, is heavily impacted by the global pandemic as many foreign technicians are impeded from or prevented to work on Taiwan’s wind farm project due to travel restriction and/or quarantine measures. Jan De Nul Group, the EPCI contractor of TPC Phase I Demonstrative Project, said since the pandemic outbreak offshore wind industry has met the same challenges like all other industries, stressing that by complying with anti-COVID19 measures, they have suffered increased cost of construction and labors and are now facing delays in the completion of the wind farm. The EPCI contractor believes it is necessary that the government sits down with stakeholders to have serious discussions about how the prevention measures has impacted wind farm construction and take practical measures to deal with stagnation of construction, rising cost and delayed grid connection.
Having fully cooperated with policies and regulations set by CECC and followed necessary administrative protocols and procedures are what contractors have done to make sure that the wind farm schedule is on track and in line with the government’s goal of generating 20 percent of its electricity through renewable energies by 2025. However, due to the constantly changing regulations and requests, and the unforeseen granting schedule of arrival permits and visas, the contractors have already seen delay in construction from the travel restrictions and quarantines. For example, some foreign engineers are not allowed to board for work while waiting for the permit while their visa time runs down, and some are forced to stay onboard for months to fulfill the quarantine request. All these events lead to the construction works suspension, progress delay and increasing costs.
In order to catch up with the grid connection schedule for TPC 1, the contractor follows the new government regulation and formalities for the crew change. In doing so, they estimated the chance of TPC Phase 1 to go on line by the end of 2020 has become impossible, as turbine installation, commissioning and operation will not be completed until early 2021.
The pandemic has had a direct or indirect impact on Taiwan’s and also the global offshore wind industry and its supply chains. There are some instances: Siemens Gamesa has once shut their factories in Marid and Aoiz, Spain in April; European wind industry submitted a petition to the government for promising not to pose travel limits on the technicians, otherwise it will affect the turbine maintenance and operation, causing the loss of power generation and income. As for wind farm construction, Burchill Wind Project in New Brunswick, Canada is confirmed to be postponed for a year; 1.4 GW Hornsea Project Two in England is embracing for delay and ; South Fork Wind off of Rhode Island in the United States has confirmed that it will not go into operation as planned in 2022.
Taiwan is a model of both anti-COVID19 performance and offshore wind industrial development, but under the influence of COVID19, the anti-pandemic measures and industrial developments are more or less contradicting to some extent. To make both work, extending the construction period of wind farm should be proposed as a possible option. In addition, on the premise of anti-pandemic protection, simplifying the formalities and procedures helps increase the much-needed operational flexibility. Furthermore, foreign technicians have to stay onboard for too long, which may cause them a heavy physical and psychological burden. The related authorities and parties should discuss more diverse and feasible solutions to the practical problems of the wind farm work safety, physical and mental health of the staff, and offshore wind project delay.