Perks for investors

The Taiwanese government is hoping to woo firms to boost its wind energy efforts.

It will not only provide subsidies to developers to build offshore wind turbines and farms, but also guarantee them a grid connection to supply electricity produced from the wind farms to households. Developers will also enjoy a feed-in tariff, a subsidy to companies that generate their own electricity, for 20 years.

These will be funded by the government's NT$1.8 billion (S$80.8 million) kitty to invest in wind power and solar facilities.

Home-grown energy firm Swancor was the first to jump on the bandwagon in 2012. It spent NT$3 billion to build Taiwan's first two demonstrator offshore wind turbines in Miaoli county, which are slated to start running as early as next month.

It is now raising NT$20 billion to build and operate another 30 wind turbines by 2019.

A Swancor spokesman told The Straits Times: "It hasn't been easy as people never quite saw the money or profits in green energy. But we know such efforts cannot be measured by dollars and cents. It's just something we have to believe will be better for the environment."

Five other companies, including global ones, have also expressed interest in building offshore wind farms in Taiwan, Professor Chen Chung-hsien, the Bureau of Energy's senior technical specialist, told The Straits Times.

They include the world's biggest player Dong Energy, which currently produces 3 gigawatts of installed offshore wind, which is equal to the Taiwanese government's 2025 offshore wind target.

The Dutch firm, which has 25 years of experience in offshore wind energy, inaugurated its Taipei office last month and plans to develop four offshore wind farms in Changhua county, on Taiwan's west coast.

In October, Singapore-based Equis Funds Group, which invests in renewable energy projects across Asia, announced it will build a solar-power and wind-power facility in Changhua county. The NT$15 billion facility will start operations in March.

Jermyn Chow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2016, with the headline 'Perks for investors'. Print Edition | Subscribe