New solar farm rules trigger debate

ELECTRIC FARMLAND: TSMC’s proposal to clear 230 hectares of reforested land for what would become Taiwan’s largest photovoltaic solar farm has generated concerns

Taipei Times
Date: Jul 14, 2020
By: Angelica Oung / Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Legislators Chou Chun-mi, left, and Hung Shen-han preside over a public hearing on solar farm development in Taiwan at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: CNA

New rules curbing solar farms built on agricultural land sparked fierce debate at a packed public hearing at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, with industry representatives saying that the new restrictions would endanger President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) green energy goals, while agricultural officials emphasized the importance of protecting farmers and the environment.

The Tsai administration has set a target to generate 20 percent of the nation’s power from renewable sources by 2025, by which time it also aims to install 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar power, including 6GW from rooftop solar systems and 14GW from ground-mounted solar farms.

Although rooftop solar systems are not controversial, a proposal by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) to clear 230 hectares of reforested land in Pingtung County to build Taiwan’s largest photovoltaic solar farm has raised concerns from local residents and environmental activists.

The Council of Agriculture amended the regulations governing the land use approval process on Tuesday last week to ban solar farms built on designated agricultural or aquaculture areas and tighten rules for solar farms built on all farmland.    [FULL  STORY]

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