Life at OCA: Senior Consultant Tom Ivey in Taiwan

Our Senior Consultant, Tom Ivey has had the opportunity to spend a few months working on a project in Taiwan. Read about his experience and observations from his time there so far.

Where have you visited since you arrived?
I’ve been based in Taipei and have been out eating and drinking with some project colleagues around the area. I have also been to a couple of the famous night markets and climbed elephant mountain which has great views the city and the iconic Taipei 101. There’s plenty to see just wandering around and exploring the many cycle paths along the riverside, it’s great country for cyclists! On a weekend I have travelled to the coast for some surfing, paddle-boarding and hiking. Taiwan is great for outdoor sports and was one of the attractions for me.

What’s the most unusual/interesting thing you’ve seen so far?

There’s plenty of interesting food and drink in the night markets! Seafood, tasty snacks and cultural sights. I am still working on my Chinese, so sometimes I just go for a lucky dip if I can’t understand the menu, mostly good so far… Taipei is modern and forward thinking and the Taiwanese culture is a real mix with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Austronesian. Visitors are still quite rare so met with a warm and friendly welcome. In more rural areas it feels quite untouched by tourism which is unique for me.

What are you missing (or not missing) about being in the UK?

Missing loved ones from home and those long clear days in the UK this time of year (spring/summer is very wet here). Not missing the cold, I have yet to need a jumper.

How does working in Taiwan compare to being in London?

It has been great to meet lots of the team in person after working remotely from the UK. In general, the working culture is quite similar, you can work from office or home. We tend to start and finish the day a bit later so there’s more overlap with European time zones. I get some exercise in the park early morning and grab dinner on the way home from one of the many delicious food places! The project team is very multicultural with people from all over the world which is great for meeting people from different backgrounds and broadening my experience in the industry in different regions of the world.

What differences are there in the Offshore Wind Industry in Taiwan compared to Europe/UK?

Taiwan is in the early years of its offshore wind industry development. This means all the equipment, services, personnel and experience we take for granted in Europe are not yet established at scale in Taiwan. Crew transfer vessels need to be imported and local crews trained in their operation. Technicians for WTG installation and maintenance need to be sourced from Europe or local personnel need to be trained which takes years to complete. As the industry grows here, the various government departments that manage energy, immigration, harbours, labour, health and the coastguard may need to look at the regulations and procedures to reduce the complexity, time and costs involved for each wind farm project.