Muehlhan Wind Service (MWS) has entered the offshore wind market in Taiwan, the company’s Commercial Director Thomas Andersen revealed to Offshore WIND during an interview.
The company will open its first office in Taipei in January and will start operations in the first quarter of 2019.
Muehlhan Wind Service begins its “Taiwan adventure” as one of Siemens Gamesa’s contractors on the Formosa 1 Phase 2 project. For MWS, this represents a grand entrance into the market, after which the company will remain in Taiwan, supporting further offshore wind projects from this new permanent office.
“We have been looking at the Taiwanese offshore wind market for a long time and have been in contact with a lot of our customers about following them into this market,” Thomas Andersen said.
“Our decision to enter the Taiwanese offshore wind market now is based on the fact that we will have technicians working for Siemens Gamesa on the Formosa 1 Phase 2 project. We see this as an opportunity to get a foothold in the market and expand our local presence. It is easier to do this kind of a move when we already have a customer and a confirmed project,” Andersen explained.
On Formosa 1 Phase 2, for which Siemens Gamesa is delivering 20 of its 6MW wind turbines, MWS will be supporting the wind turbine installation phase with electrical and high-voltage expertise. In addition, MWS will provide painters and mechanical technicians to assist with the installation of the offshore turbines.
“We have been very happy about cooperation with Muehlhan Wind Service and we are looking forward to work with them in the future,” said Hervé Bouraima, Global Commodity Manager, Siemens Gamesa.
The company expects to deploy between ten and twenty people on this project, including technicians from Europe and local Taiwanese technicians, whom the company plans to hire and train over the following six months.
“In cases where we are able to hire and train local technicians, we will do so, However, on complex work like high-voltage, we will have to rely on competences brought in from Europe,” Thomas Andersen said.
MWS’s long-term strategy is to build and train a competent Taiwanese workforce. One of the plans as part of this strategy is to bring technicians from Taiwan to Europe and train them on European projects and prepare them for future projects in the Asia Pacific region.
“Now we are focusing on consolidating ourselves in Taiwan, building a local workforce and approaching new customers. We will try to market further capabilities from the Muehlhan Group, such as surface protection, steel work, paint repairs with rope-access, composite blade repairs, scaffolding, electrical work, etc.,” Andersen added.
Investing in the offshore markets
“As an offshore-focused company, we have been looking at the emerging offshore wind markets and currently these include in particular Taiwan and the United States,” Andersen said. “When it comes to the United States, we recently acquired the company WindAmerica Turbine Services in Texas and integrated this business into Muehlhan Wind Service.”
This is the Muehlhan Group’s first ‘wind-dedicated’ entity in the United States, although the Muehlhan Group has been doing business in the US and Canada for several years in other Industries.
Even though the newly acquired U.S. company is oriented towards the onshore wind market, it serves as a foundation for entering the U.S. offshore market later on. Thomas Andersen expects the U.S. offshore market to emerge within the next three years.
“We are now in the process of finding a suitable location for establishing ourselves on the North-East Coast, to prepare for the future offshore market. In parallel, we will invest in growing our market share in the U.S. in general,” Andersen said.
When asked about the recently issued earnings statement for the first nine months of 2018, which reports a sales revenue decline in Muehlhan’s Renewables unit of some EUR 2.5 million due to project-related reasons, Thomas Andersen explained that this business unit encompasses a broad range of operations, like factory work on steel-towers, nacelles, blades and offshore foundations.
Therefore, this does not reflect the performance of Muehlhan Wind Service, where activities related to the Installation and Service business area have grown nearly 300% in 2018.
MWS believes that this growth will continue in 2019, expecting a minimum of 100% increase in activities related to Installation and Service.
From 2017 until now, Muehlhan Wind Service employed 300 technicians. In 2019, the company expects to have employed a minimum of 500 technicians.
“Our main markets this year were Germany and the UK, and we expect the same for next year,” Thomas Andersen said.
To remind, the company opened a UK office in May 2018, from where it managed several of its UK projects so far. The following month, MWS’s parent company Muehlhan AG established a new site in Cuxhaven, Germany, where it set up a new blasting and coating facility for large offshore wind turbine components.
Muehlhan Wind Service was established in 2017 by the German company Muehlhan AG as a dedicated service provider to the offshore wind energy sector, specialised in offshore and onshore installation and service, Paint and steelworks, blade repairs, and electrical and high-voltage works.
Adrijana Buljan and Adnan Duraković, Offshore WIND Staff