‘MINIMUM STANDARDS’: The Ministry of Economic Affairs is to provide a general framework on how to reach a goal of 27GW generated by alternative energy sources
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter
Environmentalists have mostly praised the Executive Yuan’s proposal to push consumers of large amounts of electricity to install renewable energy generators, but said that it should provide more detailed plans on achieving its goal of generating 27 gigawatts （GW） of electricity from alternative energy sources by 2025.
The Cabinet on Thursday approved a draft amendment to the Renewable Energy Development Act （再生能源發展條例） proposed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, saying that it would send the bill for legislative review.
The government’s goal of generating 20 percent of the nation’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025 has been turned into a specific figure — 27GW — in the draft, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Kung Ming-hsin （龔明鑫） said on Thursday.
About 20GW are to be generated by solar power and 5.5GW from offshore wind power, while the rest can be generated by hydroelectric, onshore wind power and other renewable energy sources, he said.
The draft also stipulates a requirement for large consumers of electricity to install renewable power generators with a capacity proportional to their energy consumption, or pay a fee or purchase renewable energy vouchers.
Details on renewable energy sources are to be stipulated in minor regulations, while the ministry would provide “minimum standards” and allow local governments to establish more specific rules, Kung said.
Two environmentalists yesterday said they largely agreed with the bill’s direction and urged the government to present more thorough package measures.
It is good that large consumers of electricity would be forced to use renewable energy sources with less carbon emissions, as most of them still use power generated from fossil fuels, Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan’s Energy and Industry Division director Tsai Hui-sun （蔡卉荀） said.
As the Tainan and Taichung city governments have already asked large consumers of electricity — defined as those that use an average of more than 800 kilowatts （kW） of electricity per month — to source 10 percent of their energy from renewable energy sources, the central government should set a higher ratio and a timetable to gradually increase it, she said.
The government should clarify penalties and other package measures for large consumers of energy that fail to install renewable energy sources, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance researcher Wu Cheng-cheng （吳澄澄） said.
In addition to imposing mandatory regulations, the government should also help small and medium-sized businesses that lack the know-how to develop renewable energy sources to save energy or improve their energy-consuming facilities, she said.
The process of building renewable power installations should also involve more civil participation, so that controversies around “green” energy development, such as farmland appropriation, can be avoided, she added.
Photovoltaic panels installed at the Central Taiwan Science Park have exceeded a total capacity of 36 megawatts （MW）, Central Taiwan Science Park Director-General Chen Ming-huang （陳銘煌） said, adding that AU Optronics Corp （友達光電） is one of the park’s most active developers of solar power.
The bureau has installed 100kW of solar panels on the rooftops of buildings in the science park, while the panels of about 490 businesses have reached an aggregate capacity of 11,655kW, Hsinchu Science Park Bureau Deputy Director-General Chang Ching-feng （張金豐） said by telephone.
The Southern Taiwan Science Park Bureau said solar panels installed on the rooftops of the park’s buildings have reached a total capacity of 8MW, which it plans to expand to 25MW with more installations, without providing a time frame for the goal.
An AU Optronics plant fitted with solar panels is seen in this aerial photo taken over Taichung on July 28. The government is to encourage the use of alternative energy sources to major consumers of electricity. Photo courtesy of AU Optronics