Global offshore wind giant Orsted has made its first foray into the market in Vietnam, with plans to open an office in the Asian nation that is tipped as one of the next regional hotspots for wind at sea.

Vietnam joins Taiwan, South Korea and Japan on the Asian radar of the Danish group, which is looking to build new markets beyond its early European heartlands.

CEO Mads Nipper, who revealed the move during an analyst call to discuss first quarter results, said Vietnam would form part of an emerging “Asia Pacific backbone” for Orsted.

“Vietnam has a great potential and optimal conditions to develop offshore wind,” said Nipper.

Sebastian Hald Buhl, formerly based in Taiwan, is Orsted’s new country manager in Vietnam.

Vietnam is widely viewed as one of the most promising new offshore wind markets thanks to its strong wind resources and urgent need for clean power to replace fossil fuel sources.

The country has already seen the entry of Orsted’s fellow Danish group Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, which in 2020 signed an outline agreement with regional partners over a 3.5GW offshore wind project there.

The Danish Energy Agency and World Bank in a report late last year estimated that Vietnam has a 160GW offshore wind potential, and said the nation should aim to have 10GW in the water by 2030.

However, Vietnam has also historically presented challenges to developers over levels of tariffs, access to grid and the regulatory framework governing power deals with offtakers.