Clam farmers from Tainan’s Cigu District (七股) yesterday rallied in front of the Executive Yuan in Taipei to protest against its agrivoltaic development plan, saying that they are losing jobs, as many landowners have leased their land to energy developers.
Clam farms in the district cover about 1,200 hectares, a quarter of which has been leased or sold to energy developers, said Cigu Coastal Land Resources Protection Association chairman Yang Hui-chin (楊惠欽), who led about 80 protesters.
While landowners charge clam farmers NT$30,000 per hectare per year, many energy developers offer 10 times that amount, clam farmer Kuo Yung-ching (郭永慶) said.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
The habitats of black-faced spoonbills — one of Cigu’s tourist attractions — would also be damaged if more clam farms turn into solar farms, he said.
“No farming activity, no solar installations” is the government’s principle in promoting agrivoltaic systems, Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Energy section chief Yan Wei-hsu (顏為緒) said at a public hearing at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday afternoon.
Installation proposals should be approved by agricultural agencies before developers install solar panels on farms, Yan added.
The hearing was convened by Democratic Progressive Party legislators Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) and Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) to determine how green energy installations and fish farming could coexist.
The Council of Agriculture and National Chiayi University are testing the effects of building solar panels on clam farms, council Department of Planning senior specialist Huang Hsin-ta (黃新達) said.
Once the test results are revealed by the end of this year, the council would announce reviewing standards for agrivoltaic projects, Huang said.
A farm with solar installations should have yielded at least 70 percent of its average crop production over the past three years, Huang added.
Angered by the officials’ responses, farmers at the hearing demanded an immediate solution.
About 70 percent of tenant farmers in the district have received notices from landowners that farming contracts are to be terminated by the end of this year, while the government could not present solutions, Yang said.
Instead of working with local farmers, some energy developers have contacted fish farming firms, asking them to help achieve the required amount of agricultural production, aquaculture firm Thetis Co project manager Alex Lin (林青丘) said.
Before adjourning the hearing, the lawmakers suggested that the bureau and the council set up a communication platform for concerned parties, adding that they should prioritize energy projects that work with local farmers.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up