Fri, Sep 13, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Academic urges clearer policy for wind farms

TOO FAST:The speedy approvals could threaten national security, as firms learn geological information and turbines could disrupt radar, the professor said

By Natasha Li  /  Staff reporter

The government should set out concise and comprehensive marine policies as companies are rapidly developing offshore wind farms, Chiau Wen-yan (邱文彥), the former dean of National Taiwan Ocean University’s College of Ocean Law and Policy, said yesterday.

“At the moment, we do not have a clear framework for the [wind power] industry to develop within... The government tends to act first and ask questions later,” Chiau said at an event on the risks and prospects of the wind power industry.

He criticized the government’s rushed approvals of offshore wind farm projects, despite its lack of expertise in the area.

“This could pose a national security threat, as foreign developers and vessels enter our waters and uncover critical geological information,” he said, adding that wind turbines might also obstruct the functioning of radar detection systems.

“In the meantime, hundreds of wind turbines would not be regulated by the Coastal Zone Management Act (海岸管理法),” Chiau said.

The act, which is one of the few laws regulating coastal and marine space, might prove insufficient, as it only covers near-shore areas up to 3 nautical miles (5.6km) off the coastline, he said.

The government also turns a blind eye to environmental and ecological issues, Chiau said, citing the negative effects that the offshore wind farms would have on seabird populations and endangered marine species, such as the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin.

“We must redefine our rapport with the ocean and its resources,” Chiau said.

He urged the government to formulate a clear marine spatial planning act based on cultural heritage and an ecosystem preservation approach.

The government under President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been determined to go full steam ahead with wind farm projects to meet its target of phasing out nuclear power by 2025, but it has encountered strong headwinds from its own local content regulations.

The Industrial Development Bureau on Monday put on hold Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners’ (CIP) localization report, as the Danish firm reportedly failed to meet local supply chain requirements by half, according to the Chinese-language Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times).

CIP rejected the newspaper story, saying that it has reached most of the 27 requirements.

It also denied rumors that its main turbine supplier, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind A/S, had decided to pull its wind turbine assembly plant from Taiwan.

MHI Vestas signed contracts with local companies such as Chin Fong Machine Industrial Co (金豐機器工業) and Swancor Holding Co Ltd (上緯投控), while inking another contract with Mitsubishi Electric (Europe) Corp, which is to cooperate with Shihlin Electric & Engineering Corp (士林電機).

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