French supermajor Total will enter the fast-growing Taiwan offshore wind market and deepen its footprint in the sector globally by taking a 23% share in the 640-megawatt Yunlin project that is already under construction.

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Total agreed to buy a 23% share in the wind development from German developer WPD, currently the project’s largest shareholder with a 48% stake.

WPD will receive “a consideration based on its share of past costs” for the Yunlin stake, Total said.

Yunlin is among the first wave of large-scale wind farms under construction off Taiwan, which has emerged as the pacesetter in Asian offshore development outside China.

Yunlin has a 20-year power supply deal with Taiwanese utility Taipower for $250 per megawatt-hour for the first decade and $125/MWh for the second.

Installation of the project’s 8MW Siemens Gamesa offshore wind turbines began earlier this month and it is due online by the end of the year.

The other shareholders in Yunlin are Thai Electricity Generation Public Company (EGCO Group) and a consortium led by the Japan's Sojitz Group with minority stakes of 25% and 27%, respectively, in the project

For Total, the Taiwan deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, continues a major push into the global offshore wind sector, where it already has interests in 5.5 gigawatts of projects, and renewables more generally.

The oil and gas has set a target to develop 100GW gross capacity by 2030, putting it among the front rank of fossil giants globally in terms of renewable energy plans, and is in the process of changing its name to TotalEnergies to reflect the shift.

Taiwan is likely to provide plenty more opportunities, as the government there hones plans to award another 10GW of offshore wind capacity for build-out into the 2030s, to add to the 5.5GW already allocated of which Yunlin forms part.

Priority region

Total said Taiwan is a “priority region” for its offshore wind plans in Asia. The group has already laid down a marker in South Korea with plans to jointly develop a 2GW floating project there.

The French group’s president of gas, renewables and power, Stephane Michel, said: “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."

Total has also entered the UK offshore wind market with positions in both fixed and floating projects, is active in its domestic French market, and will bid to build Denmark's largest offshore wind farm in conjunction with Iberdrola.

(This article first appeared in Upstream's sister renewable energy publication Recharge on 29 April, 2021.)