Four-year Wind Power Promotion Plan to create clean energy

  • Date: 2017-06-09

I. Background

Green energy is expected to become a new engine of economic growth, which is why Taiwan’s government has made green energy technologies an important component of its “five plus two” innovative industries policy. Pursuant to this policy, the Executive Yuan passed a green energy technology industry promotion plan on October 27, 2016, focusing on solar power and wind power development with a view to increasing renewable sources to 20 percent of the nation’s energy portfolio by 2025. By promoting energy security, a green economy and environmental sustainability, the plan will work steadily to build a clean energy future and a nuclear-free Taiwan.

Regarding wind-powered energy, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has formulated a Four-year Wind Power Promotion Plan to run from 2017 to 2020. The plan contains short-term goals to solidify industry foundations and increase installed wind power capacity to 1.334 gigawatts (GW) within four years, as well as medium and long-term measures to improve the installation environment and increase total installed capacity to 4.2 GW (1.2 GW land-based, 3 GW offshore) by 2025. These efforts will promote Taiwan’s energy diversification and self-sufficiency, spur domestic demand and job growth, build a wind energy-friendly environment, and demonstrate Taiwan’s commitment to renewable energy.

II. Promote on-land, offshore systems simultaneously

A. On land: For projects and cases that have been approved for development, the four-year plan will give priority to helping proactive local governments and promoting more viable sites. The goal for 2017 through 2020 is raise land-based installed capacity to 814 megawatts (MW), or 132 MW higher than the 2016 capacity.

B. Offshore: Given Taiwan’s vulnerability to typhoons and earthquakes and its inexperience with offshore wind power development, the plan will begin with shallow waters before moving to deeper waters—setting up demonstration sites first, then developing viable sites, and expanding to larger zones. The government will also subsidize the construction of demonstration facilities to turn potential sites into completed wind farms. The goal by 2020 is to install 520 MW of offshore capacity.

III. Remove investment obstacles, attract domestic and foreign investors

A. Negotiate with fishing industry: Last year the government announced standards for compensating fishermen for the construction of offshore wind farms. Power plants and transmission and distribution companies will also be required to set up a wind power development assistance fund, from which a fixed percentage will be shared with local fishery associations and fishermen groups.

B. Harmonize regulations: The MOEA has established a service window to track the progress of installation project applications, resolve application problems, and reach agreement with regulators in accordance with administrative laws. To speed up the paperwork, different sections of the applications may be reviewed in parallel in the future.

C. Set up third-party certification: Use state-owned demonstration wind farms as training grounds for building Taiwan’s third-party certification capabilities. After accumulating practical experience, collaborate with international partners and develop the Asian-Pacific offshore wind market.

IV. Construct offshore wind infrastructure, promote industry localization and upgrading

A. Special-purpose piers and industrial zones: Plans are underway to build construction piers at the Port of Taichung, an underwater foundational pier at Xingda Port, a pier and base for operation and maintenance at a fishing harbor soon to be completed in Changhua, and an industrial zone for the Port of Taichung’s industrial chain.

B. Fleet of construction ships: In the short term, develop Taiwan’s marine engineering capacity for offshore wind power by establishing a marine engineering industrial alliance (“Marine-Team”), and forming a fleet of construction ships from existing, purchased or rented vessels. For the medium and long-term, build a new fleet of wind turbine installation vessels to tap the domestic and Southeast Asian markets.

C. Transmission and distribution grid: Build a comprehensive transmission and distribution grid for offshore wind power. For wind power systems that pass Taiwan Power Co.’s (Taipower) connection reviews, have the operators connect to Taipower’s land-based electrical substations by 2020. Taipower will be in charge of planning submarine cable landing points and corridors, while wind farm developers will build their own offshore substations to connect wind power to the main electricity grid.

V. Expected results and long-term benefits

A. Lower carbon emissions: The government’s goal by 2025 is to install 4.2 GW of total wind power capacity, generating 14 billion kilowatt hours annually and cutting carbon emissions by 7.1 million metric tons per year.

B. Higher industrial output: Foreign investors drawn to potential sites have proposed installing 10.2 GW of offshore wind power capacity, which is expected to generate NT$1.8 trillion (US$59.8 billion) in industry output.

C. More jobs: Some 10,000 job opportunities will be created by installing at least 3 GW of offshore wind power capacity by 2025.

D. Higher investments: The installation of 4.2 GW total wind power capacity by 2025 is expected to spur investments of NT$613.5 billion (US$20.4 billion).

VI. Conclusion

Taiwan has one of the best wind fields in the world for harnessing offshore wind energy, and it boasts excellent foundations in machinery and electronics manufacturing. The government will leverage these strengths to help businesses develop and build the wind power industry, using Taiwan’s wind farms as training grounds for the local industrial chain before taking on the Asian-Pacific offshore wind market. In addition to protecting the environment, these efforts will make Taiwan a world model for clean and renewable energy.