In bid to go ‘nuclear-free’, Taiwan outlines energy plan

The island expects around $58bn of investments by 2025 from the state-owned utility and the private sector to help roll out green projects.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs on Tuesday unveiled a more detailed outline of its plans to achieve a “nuclear-free homeland” by 2025. 

To meet its goal, Taiwan plans to increase the share of renewables in the power mix from 4.8 percent in 2016 to 20 percent over the next eight years. The target comprises 20GW of solar, 3GW of which are to come from rooftop installations and 17GW from ground-mounted panels, as well as 1.2GW of onshore wind and 3GW of offshore plants. 

Since the Tsai administration proposed a revamped renewables policy last year, the Ministry has been promoting the island’s electricity transition by encouraging the development of clean energy and revising the power utility law. 

The government expects 1.75 trillion Taiwan dollars ($57.8billion; €51.9 billion) in green infrastructure investments from private sector and state-owned utility TaiPower over the next eight years. 

A two-year pilot solar scheme, started in July 2016, aims to install 1.52GW of capacity by June 2018. The 91.2 billion-Taiwan dollar programme is meant to help the Ministry develop a framework for site selection and grid connection, so that the island can achieve 6.5GW of solar capacity by 2020 and 20GW by 2025. 

Taiwan saw its first two offshore wind turbines installed last October, and the government expects the construction of three demonstrative offshore plants to complete by 2020. Lin Chuan-neng, Director General of the Ministry’s Bureau of Energy, said that the state will offer a 20-year guarantee to private investors in such facilities. 

Foreign investors have been drawn to the island’s renewables sector since last year’s policy changes. Partners Group invested $200 million in a greenfield solar field last July, while Australia’s Macquarie Capital and Denmark’s Dong Energy acquired a majority stake in an offshore wind farm early this year. They were followed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, which invested in a 1.5GW wind facility last week.   

The Ministry also plans to replace old coal-fired power units with higher efficiency plants and reduce the sector’s contribution to the grid from 45.4 percent in 2016 to about 30 percent in eight years’ time. 

Taiwan looks to add gas-fired capacity to help compensate for the shortfall, boosting the sector’s share of the power mix from 32.4 percent in 2016 to about half by 2025.