Tue, Sep 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Two wind farms pass EPA review

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Two wind farms off the Changhua County coast passed a review by the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) ad hoc committee yesterday, while seven failed.

The nine projects — four pitched by Greater Changhua’s Northwest/Northeast/Southwest/Southeast Offshore Wind Power Corp, two by Hai Long Wind Energy and three by Hai Ding Offshore Wind Energy — were first reviewed on June 30.

As the projects might affect marine life and fishing and shipping activities, the EPA asked the Maritime and Port Bureau to provide a new chart of international fairways.

Last month, the bureau published the chart with a 9 nautical mile (16.7km) wide channel that cannot be narrowed further, the bureau said on Aug. 25.

To avoid overlapping the fairway, developers must reduce the size of the wind farms.

Hai Long must reduce its No. 19 site by 40 percent, from 100.5km2 to 59.2km2.

Greater Changhua’s No. 13 and No. 15 are to be reduced 3 percent and 10 percent respectively, while Hai Ding is to reduce its No. 17 site by 16 percent.

However, reviewers yesterday said that they were concerned about a lack of regulation over activities in range of the fairway.

“If the fairway were to be subjected to salinity, would developers be responsible for sluicing the sediment?” EPA Deputy Minister and committee host Chan Shun-kuei (詹順貴) said. “Would fishing be allowed in the wind farm zone?”

It is more reasonable that developers should be responsible for removing the silt, but further discussion is needed, a Fishing Agency representative said, adding that fishing and wind farm projects should be able to coexist.

The Bureau of Energy in 2015 said that wind farm developers should pass environmental impact assessments by the end of this year to gain development approval.

However, Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association chairman Robin Winkler (文魯彬) said that the deadline should be abolished so that developers have more time to conduct comprehensive environmental surveys.

The three developers’ reports were produced by the same consultancy, Unitech Engineering Co (光宇工程), but each had different results.

Greater Changhua and Hai Ding are required to submit further analyses of marine life effects and risk management of natural disasters, among other issues, by Nov. 30.

Hai Long’s two projects passed a preliminary review, while the committee requested more analysis from the company before forwarding their cases to the EPA.

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