Fri, Nov 15, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Solar energy tariff cuts adjusted after criticism

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

The government’s wholesale electricity tariffs for solar energy during the January-to-June period of next year are set to drop by about 12.45 percent on a semi-annual basis, less than the previously proposed 14.23 percent cut, the Bureau of Energy said yesterday.

The adjustment came after the bureau announced its initial changes to wholesale electricity tariffs for next year and held hearings to collect firms’ opinions last month.

The government’s original proposal was that wholesale electricity tariffs for solar energy suppliers for the first half of next year would be reduced by between 12 percent and 14 percent from the July-to-December period this year.

With an additional 2 percent to 3 percent decline planned for the second half, wholesale electricity tariffs for solar energy suppliers would fall by up to 16 percent to NT$4.72 per 1,000 kilowatt-hour from NT$5.62, the bureau said.

However, after several solar power suppliers complained, stressing that many of them faced severe pricing competition and rising maintenance costs, the bureau took local firms’ critism into account and decided to narrow its reduction of the tariffs.

For the first half of next year, wholesale electricity tariffs for solar energy suppliers are set to decrease to NT$4.92 per 1,000 kilowatt-hour, rather than original target of NT$4.72.

That rate will remain the same through the second half of next year, the bureau said in a statement on its Web site.

“Wholesale electricity tariffs for solar energy will be renewed, but not in accordance with falling average operating costs to suppliers in the global market,” the bureau said.

Based on the same formula, wholesale electricity tariffs for wind, biomass, hydro and geothermal power are set to increase by between 0.31 percent and 16.05 percent to a range between NT$2.5 and NT$8.6 per 1,000 kilowatt-hour, the bureau said.

Wholesale electricity tariffs for energy that is generated from waste would remain the same at NT$2.82 per 1,000 kilowatt-hour, it said.

Considering that the total costs of installation and operations is higher on outlying islands than on Taiwan proper, the bureau said it would retain its policy and purchase renewable energy generated on Kinmen and Matsu at a 15 percent premium to give firms an incentive to invest in the clean energy business.

In addition, firms that install 10,000 kilowatt-hour wind turbines onshore and use them to generate wind power before 2018 will be able to enjoy a 3.6 percent premium, the bureau’s statement said.

The bureau said it would begin sending out notices about the changes to wholesale electricity tariffs for next year from Monday.

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