Tue, Apr 14, 2009 - Page 12 News List

InfraVest threatens to leave if ‘green’ bills not passed

DISAPPOINTMENT The German company said the Ma administration has been difficult to deal with despite professing support for green energy

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Eight years after launching operations in Taiwan, German wind energy development firm Infra­Vest GmbH yesterday threatened to close its Taipei office and withdraw from the local market if the government fails to push harder for bills to promote green energy by June.

The company will pull out of Taiwan before the end of this year if the renewable energy bills fail to clear the legislature’s floor by mid-June, an employee quoted InfraVest chairman Karl-Eugen Feifel as saying yesterday.

The decision could be a blow to the government’s planned national energy meetings, which commence tomorrow.

InfraVest’s shareholders have been putting pressure on the local management team to shift its focus and development from Taiwan to China, where authorities have announced plans to expand wind power capacity to 20 billion watts by next year, the firm said.

By accelerating the construction of wind power farms to boost capacity by 1 billion watts per year, China will become the largest user of renewable energy in the world, InfraVest said.

The government has failed to support long-term development of wind energy farms and subsidies for wind power remained too low, making it difficult for InfraVest to survive, company president Ma Weilin (馬維麟) said in a written statement.

InfraVest has been hurt by a stronger euro and rising costs of raw materials, including steel and copper, she said, adding that the company, which is the only foreign investor in wind power with a base in Taiwan, would be forced to close if the government fails to impose “reasonable wind power prices as a way to promote renewable energy.”

Feifel said the firm was disappointed as President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has been difficult to deal with despite professing support for green energy.

InfraVest has invested more than NT$10 billion (US$296.8 million) in Taiwan to build 88 sets of wind power facilities along the coast of Miaoli, Taichung and Changhua, and is expecting contracts for another 500 megawatts before 2012.

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