Sat, Dec 22, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Wind firms gain approvals for seven offshore projects

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Offshore wind energy companies yesterday clinched approvals from regulators, making strides in the race to secure favorable power purchase agreements with the government before the end of the year.

Following a coastal zone management review meeting, the Ministry of the Interior gave the green light to seven offshore wind project applications in Changhua County by Orsted A/S, Northland Power Inc, Yushan Energy Co (玉山能源), Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and China Steel Corp (中鋼).

With only a little more than a week left in the year, companies have been scrambling to secure agreements at the current feed-in tariff of NT$5.8498 per kilowatt-hour after the government announced a proposal to cap the rate at NT$5.106 for the next 20 years.

While the approvals were the final regulatory hurdle to cross, the ministry said it would take two or three business days for it to conduct its final audits and checks to seal the deals.

The seven projects cover an area of 805km2 off the Changhua coast, of which 7.6 percent, or 61km2, is under the jurisdiction of the Coastal Zone Management Act (海岸管理法), the ministry said.

A panel found that the companies met government requirements to bring minimal disruptions to the environment and shipping lanes, the ministry said.

The firms have agreed to coordinate among themselves to keep underwater power lines and docks close to each other to minimize their footprint, it said.

In addition, the companies have agreed to employ third-party observers to monitor changes to the geology and ecosystem, as well as promising to provide compensation for seabed ecology restoration efforts and incentives to the local government, the ministry said.

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