Delayed permits for wind power projects to be resolved soon: official

Taipei, The Bureau of Energy is likely to issue permits for the establishment of six wind power farms off the coast of Changhua County within the next two days, Lin Chuan-neng head of the bureau said Wednesday.

The Changhua County government decided on Jan. 14 not to review the applications for the permits, months after the Bureau of Energy sought its opinions on the cases.

The local government said the matter was not within its authority and it referred the cases back to the Bureau of Energy.

The delay caused the applicants, China Steel Corp., Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), Danish company Orsted A/S, and Yushan Energy, to miss the deadline to secure a power purchasing agreement with the state-owned Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) at last year’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) rate of NT$5.8498 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

Disappointed with the process and a proposal by the Bureau of Energy in November to set the 2019 FIT rate for wind power at NT$5.106 per kWh, Orsted A/S said earlier this month that it would “pause and revisit” its participation in two of the projects.

However, the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ (MOEA) decision Wednesday to cap this year’s FIT rate at NT$5.516 indicated that the government was looking to regain the trust of the developers.

Lin said the Bureau of Energy is studying the Changhua County government’s response and will soon issue the permits for installation of wind-energy capacity after it clarifies some legal issues.

Some of the developers’ responded positively to the new FIT rates.

According to the MOEA’s tiered FIT scheme, power generated from wind farms sold in the first 4,200 operating hours per year would be paid at NT$5.516, between 4,200 hours and 4,500 hours at 75 percent of the rate, and the rest at 50 percent of the rate.

CIP said that although the new FIT rates were not ideal, it would not downsize its investment nor would it divest from Taiwan. The company said it will make a final decision at the end of the year after a thorough assessment of its projects.

Changhua County Magistrate Wang Hui-mei said her local government respected the MOEA’s decision but was urging the central government to ensure that the wind power supply chain would be based in Changhua to help its development.

Meanwhile, Liu Yu-ping deputy head of the county government’s Department of Economic and Renewable Energy, said the MOEA must examine how the wind power farm projects would affect the fisheries industry and implement measures to compensate fishermen or help them change to a different profession.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel