Fri, May 16, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Renewable energy bill too costly: lawmakers

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators yesterday criticized a proposed renewable energy development bill (再生能源發展條例草案), saying it may over-reward local firms' investments and shift the cost of subsidizing such investments to the public.

The bill proposes setting a guaranteed minimum electricity rate to encourage local companies to invest in renewable energy.

Unlike coal and natural gas, which cost about NT$1 per kilowatt-hour and NT$3 per kilowatt-hour respectively to produce, solar energy production would cost much higher — between NT$17 and NT$21 per kilowatt-hour.

Aside from guaranteed minimum electricity prices, the bill also proposes establishing a renewable energy fund that would be used to subsidize renewable energy prices and equipment.

“The bill is too rewarding. It is almost a life-long guarantee and even more secure than buying insurance,” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Tsang-min (林滄敏), said at the legislature’s Economics Committee yesterday.

As local fuel and electricity prices are expected to rise in the short term, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chang Hua-kuan (張花冠) said she was afraid if the bill passes, the cost of developing renewable energy would be reflected in general electricity prices and add to the public burden.

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