Japan’s Mitsui makes first offshore wind investment in Taiwan

The Japanese investor considers the country more attractive than the ‘competitive’ European market.

Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. is expanding its renewables business into the offshore wind sector by acquiring a 50 percent stake in Taiwan project developer Yushan Energy for an undisclosed amount.

“Mitsui has been looking at offshore wind opportunities across the globe as it plans to expand its renewables business,” a Mitsui spokesman told Infrastructure Investor. “In Europe, the market is quite competitive among players, with project development more advanced and the investment environment more developed.

“On the contrary, the Asian market is just starting to take off. Taiwan, in particular, presents favourable wind conditions and supportive government policy and thus we see Taiwan [as] a very attractive market,” he added. “We look to invest more in renewables in Asia in the future.”

Yushan Energy, a subsidiary of Singapore-based upstream energy company Enterprize Energy, owns a 40 percent interest in the Hai Long Offshore Wind development project in the Taiwan Strait, while the project’s remaining 60 percent stake is held by Canadian power producer Northland Power, according to a statement by Enterprize.

Hai Long comprises two offshore wind projects – Hai Long 2 and Hai Long 3, with a combined planned capacity of more than 1GW scheduled to begin operations between 2021 and 2024. The Hai Long 2 offshore wind farm was recently awarded 300MW of grid capacity allocation, together with nine other projects of a combined 3.5GW announced by the Taiwan Bureau of Energy late last month.

The island is looking to have 5.5GW of offshore wind power generation by 2025, and 20 percent of its power generated from renewable sources.

Mitsui and Enterprize said the transaction terms, including the investment size, are confidential.

Mitsui, with $106.7 billion in total assets, invests in a wide range of businesses including mineral and metal resources, energy, infrastructure, technology, consumer goods and health care globally. The company owns equity interest in 9.3GW of power generation capacity worldwide, 16 percent of which is renewable energy projects located across 20 countries, the spokesman said.