New CSBC barge begins operations, eyes wind power business
A large barge built by CSBC Corp., Taiwan, the largest local shipbuilder, departed on its maiden voyage Monday, as part of the company’s efforts to attract business from offshore wind power developments.
In a ceremony to celebrate the departure of the barge, named CSBC No. 15, CSBC President Tseng Kuo-cheng (曾國正) said the vessel, which is expected to carry wind turbines, is able to work in coastal areas of Taiwan, where the country is seeking to develop wind power farms in an effort to boost renewable energy.
Tseng said the company is in talks with wind power developers that have permits from the government to build wind farms along Taiwan’s western coast to lease the barge, adding that future rental contracts are expected to generate hundreds of thousands of Taiwan dollars daily for CSBC.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) launched a four-year offshore wind power development program in 2016 to push for the commissioning and installation of wind turbines, and the CSBC No. 15 barge was designed under the program.
According to the company, the CSBC No. 15 is designed with a loading capacity of 23,000 metric tons and has a loading deck bearing strength of up to 20 metric tons per square meter.
Tseng said CSBC spent about NT$700 million (US$22.58 million) building the barge, which is 140 meters in length and 41 meters wide, as the first sea platform to carry heavy wind turbines and other wind power generation equipment.
In addition to serving as a sea carrier for wind power equipment, Tseng said, the barge will also deliver main boat blocks for shipbuilding.
Being towed by two large vessels, the unpowered barge departed from Keelung Port in northern Taiwan, carrying 15 boat blocks, on Monday and is scheduled to arrive at Kaohsiung Port in the south on Thursday.
Tseng said the barge is equipped with a ballast water management system so it can adapt to different tidal levels when loading or unloading cargo at ports along Taiwan’s coast.
The barge is only the latest element of CSBC’s efforts to take part in Taiwan’s wind power development initiatives.
In May, a Taipei-based joint venture between CSBC and Belgian offshore solutions company GeoSea secured a contract to install 62 wind turbines off the coast of Changhua County.
Last year, Orsted Taiwan, a subsidiary of the Denmark-based energy developer, signed an agreement with CSBC to build wind turbine foundation pin-piles at a site off the coast of Changhua County in central Taiwan.
Orsted, is one of the companies to receive a permit from the Taiwan government earlier this year to develop offshore wind power.
According to Orsted, its Greater Changhua offshore wind projects will be located 35-50 kilometers off the coast of Changhua. With a capacity of about 900MW, they are expected to supply about 1 million Taiwanese households with green power. The offshore wind farms will be constructed in 2021 and 2022.