To develop Taiwan’s green energy capabilities and kick-start transformation of the domestic energy industry, the Executive Yuan Council passed draft amendments to the Electricity Act today that will be sent to the Legislative Yuan for review.
The development of renewable energy and the green energy industries are important elements of President Tsai Ing-wen’s policy agenda, Premier Lin Chuan said, so if Taiwan cannot liberalize its power industry, the country won’t be able to promote green energy industries, impacting a whole series of government policies. If Taiwan cannot liberalize the supply and sale of all green energy, and our country’s sole electricity provider, the Taiwan Power Company (Taipower), continues to play the role of both player and umpire in the energy industry, there will be no way to develop the green energy sector quickly. This is why it was imperative for the government to amend the Electricity Act.
The government needs to liberalize the green energy industry during the current legislative session, Premier Lin said. He added that the Electricity Act will be amended in two stages to make regulatory adjustments that simply cannot be postponed any longer, and that the second-stage amendments will also aim to achieve energy industry liberalization. This two-stage approach will help allay the public’s concerns about consortiums controlling the power industry and high rates for electric power.
The premier explained that trying to push through all of the amendments at one time would have caused massive disputes and drawn out power industry liberalization measures for another legislative session or two. That was too high a price to pay, so he has asked the Executive Yuan and relevant Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) personnel to continue communicating with all sectors of society so that the public will understand the Executive Yuan’s approach.
According to the MOEA, the government is going all-out to develop green energy and transform the domestic energy industry, hoping to achieve the goal of a non-nuclear homeland by 2025.
Taking into account the opinions of other agencies, Taipower, the Taipower Labor Union and environmentalist groups, as well as the relevant rules and regulations and legislative developments in various countries, the MOEA is planning to allow the sale of renewable energy to end users through “wheeling” (transmitting electrical power from one service area to another), direct sales and public power utilities. Plans also include having state-owned enterprises handle power transmission and distribution to ensure equal access to power grids; ensuring that end users will be granted the right to select their power providers; having the competent authorities designate an agency to manage and supervise the power market; subjecting electricity rates set by public power utilities to government control; and the establishment of an electricity price stabilization mechanism to prevent price volatility.
According to the MOEA, the draft amendments to the Electricity Act also call for Taipower to set up two separate subsidiaries, one to handle the power generation function and another to handle power transmission and distribution, which will allow Taipower to become the parent holding company of both entities.