To further promote the utilization of renewable energy, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (hereinafter, the “MOEA”) of Taiwan pre-announced the draft Partial Amendments to the Renewable Energy Development Act (hereinafter, the “Draft”) on June 21, 2022 to solicit public opinions in 60 days from the day after the pre-announcement of the Draft. The Draft is highlighted as follows:

1. To accommodate the development trend of power generation technology towards floating wind turbines, the installation space for offshore wind power generation should not be limited to territorial seas. Therefore, the wording “not exceeding the bounds of territorial sea ” is deleted from the definition (Article 3 of the Draft). For the specific development scope of offshore wind power generation, the MOEA stated that it will gradually proceed with the development of offshore wind power generation technology, energy development policy, sea area planning and management, etc.

2. To promote the installation of solar power generation equipment in buildings, new regulations are added to stipulate that for new construction, extensions, and reconstruction reaching a certain scale, the proprietor shall install solar power generation equipment with at least a certain capacity except for insufficient light conditions or other exempted circumstances determined by the competent building authority, and the determination criteria shall be prescribed by the central building authority in conjunction with the MOEA (Article 12-1 of the Draft).

3. Eased restrictions on the areas in which biomass power plants may be established

To encourage the use of excess materials (such as agricultural wastes) from related industries in the vicinity for biomass power generation, the requirement that burning-type biomass power plants shall be limited to industrial zones is deleted (Article 15 of the Draft).

According to the MOEA’s explanation, if the relevant competent authorities consider the installation of burning-type biomass power plants to be in line with regional development or compatible with the purpose of land use, there should be no need to limit the installation of such power plants to industrial zones. If it is possible to concentrate the excess materials output by relevant facilities and build a burning-type biomass power plant in the vicinity of agricultural facilities, factories, and other related facilities, the environmental effects and costs caused by the collection and transportation of materials can be reduced, and the related industries can make use of the excess materials to develop biomass power generation and increase the installed capacity of biomass power generation.

4. Addition of regulations related to the exploration, development, and operations of geothermal energy exploration, development, operation, and other related regulations

To promote the installation of geothermal energy power generation facilities and provide clear regulations for the application procedures of geothermal energy exploration and development, it is additionally stipulated that applicants who meet certain qualifications and have the need to explore geothermal energy for the installation of geothermal energy power generation equipment shall apply to the MOEA for approval. The application procedure, required documents, review items, and other related matters shall be prescribed by the central competent authority (Articles 15-1 to 15-6 of the Draft).

If the geothermal energy exploration permit or the geothermal energy development permit is not followed, the MOEA shall serve a notice demanding rectification within a specified period. If rectification is not made upon expiration of the period, a fine of NT$300,000 to NT$1,500,000 may be imposed, and a further rectification period may be imposed. If no rectification is made within the period, the fine may be imposed continuously for each instance. In serious cases, the central competent authority may revoke or cancel the geothermal energy exploration permit or geothermal energy development permit (Article 20-1 of the Draft).