Thu, Dec 31, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Government announces renewable energy rates

PAY-PER-USE Polling showed that households would accept a hike in electricity rates that incorporate renewable energy as long as the increase is modest

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) announced wholesale rates for the renewable energy yesterday, with the tariffs expected to take effect in one week.

The private sector is being encouraged to deploy new equipment to produce renewable energy such as wind power or solar power as the nation seeks to reduce dependence on coal and natural gas and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Companies could then sell the energy to state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) over the next 20 years at NT$11.1 to NT$12.9 per kilowatt-hour for solar power generators, NT$5.2 per kilowatt-hour for geothermal energy and NT$4.3 per kilowatt-hour for wind power, among a number of other options.

ABSORBING COSTS

While the government has no plans to increase utility rates for households next year, consumers are expected to play their part in absorbing the costs of alternative energy, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said at a year-end press gathering on Tuesday.

Consumers will be expected to pay an average NT$3.5, or 0.4 percent, more every month in electricity fees starting in February, the ministry said.

Wholesale rates for electricity generated by alternative energy are higher than those for ordinary fossil fuels, so the government is encouraging company generation of renewable energy through the sales to Taipower, it said.

The Act Governing Development of Renewable Energy (再生能源發展條例) passed its third reading in the Legislative Yuan on June 12.

SUPPORT

The ministry yesterday cited a recent survey showing support for the government’s alternative energy policy.

In the ministry-commissioned poll conducted by Shih Hsin University, 89 percent of respondents said they supported the policy, despite the extra cost. As much as 80 percent supported the “pay-per-use” charging mechanism.

Seventy-five percent of respondents said they supported the policy as long as their electricity bills didn’t rise by more than NT$15 a month, while 60 percent said a rise of NT$30 per month would be acceptable.

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