Two-year solar power promotion plan

  • Date: 2016-09-22

I. Background

In response to the specter of global warming, the international community has joined forces to address the challenge of global warming. Although unable to become a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Taiwan must take responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To do that, on July 1, 2015 the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act was promulgated, setting long-term GHG emission reduction goals for the year 2050. On November 16 of that same year, the Executive Yuan (EY) approved Taiwan’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), pledging to achieve a 50-percent reduction below the business as usual (BAU) GHG emission level by 2030, which is equivalent to reducing emissions to 20 percent below the 2005 level. 

The government also proposed a plan to create a “nuclear-free homeland” by the year 2025, formally ushering Taiwan into a new era of low-carbon energy.

To achieve our carbon-reduction goals and become a low-carbon society, the government has already designated “green” energy industries as one of its five major innovative industries. Under that policy, the government is pushing to develop low-carbon, renewable energy sources capable of generating 20 percent of Taiwan’s total energy needs by the year 2025. In June of 2016 the EY also established an Energy and Carbon Reduction Office that is helping the Ministry of Economic Affairs complete its two-year solar power promotion plan to accelerate development of Taiwan’s solar and renewable energy capabilities. This is an all-out effort to generate 1.52 gigawatts (GW) of energy within two years, paving the way to reach the goal of 20 GW by 2025.


II. Short-term plan lays foundation for medium and long-term goals

Between 2016 and 2018, this two-year solar power promotion plan hopes to lay the initial groundwork for medium and long-term measures that will address fundamental energy issues. Completion of a solar power system that generates 1,520 megawatts (MW) is expected to spur investments totaling NT$91.2 billion (approximately US$2.9 billion) while creating over 9,000 man-years in employment opportunities. The system will generate a total of 1.9 billion kilowatt-hours of power each year, equal to 2,580 times the annual carbon-offset capacity of Taipei City’s 26-hectare Da-an Forest Park.

A. Short-term goals

The plan’s initial stage calls for solar power units to be installed on buildings owned by the central government, factories, agricultural facilities and other rooftops. Project-driven initiatives will also be used to provide a firm foundation for other solar power efforts, including surface-based installations on land currently used by the salt industry, land subject to severe subsidence, aquatic areas, sealed landfills and polluted acreage. Projected goals for the period between July of 2016 and June of 2018 include the completion of rooftop installations generating 910 MW of power and surface installations generating 610 MW, for a total of 1,520 MW.

B. Medium and long-term solutions

Promote development of large-scale surface-based installations, an optimized power generation environment, and broad applications to create 3 GW of rooftop and 17 GW of surface-based solar power installations for a total of 20 GW by 2025.


III. Speed up adoption of solar power in five major innovative industries

1. Create “single-window” service to eliminate obstacles, speed up administrative procedures, help resolve installation application issues, and provide referral services. The EY’s Energy and Carbon Reduction Office will facilitate cross-department integration and help provide oversight and evaluation .

2. Expand inventory of available solar power installation locations: designate about 4,700 hectares of salt flats as solar power zones. Because some of these areas are protected wetlands or involve land-use regulatory issues, select approximately 803 hectares of non-wetland salt flats in Chiayi City and Tainan City for initial development. Installations should be completed within four years, creating a power generation capacity of 530 MW, equivalent to the power generated by one coal-fired unit at Taichung’s thermal power plant.

3. Strengthen electric grid planning: draft a construction plan for the transmission and distribution of renewable energy that includes distribution and transmission plans, and plans for enhancing power grid facilities to resolve feeder-line issues.     

4. Open funding channels: make “green” financing accessible by instituting a program encouraging domestic banks to provide loans to designated key industries to help green industries obtain financing; encourage insurance enterprise funds to invest in green industries and provide diversified capital and fund-raising channels.

5. Update legal system: amend provisions regarding renewable energy and loosen restrictions on the establishment of electric power facilities; amend laws and regulations regarding land-use permission and designation.


IV. Conclusion

We have entered a new era of renewable energy. In the future, to achieve our vision of energy security, a green economy and environmental sustainability the government, based on ensuring a stable energy supply, will promote transforming our energy production and distribution systems to conserve energy and reduce emissions. Our initial effort--the two-year solar power promotion plan--is designed to create an environment where solar power is widespread. Thereafter, we will roll out a series of measures regarding wind power generation, a green energy science city, energy conservation and more. These measures will spur the diversification of energy sources and increase energy autonomy. They will also drive domestic demand and employment opportunities, and show Taiwan’s determination to promote renewable energy and pursue sustainable national development.