Official inauguration of 4.2 MW Qingshui geothermal plant, Taiwan
Through the cooperation between the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Yilan County Government, our country’s first private MW-level geothermal power plant was inaugurated on November 23, 2021, in Qingshui, Yilan. The power plant has a capacity of 4.2 MW and will be able to supply a minimum of nearly 7,000 households. Not only does this power plant lay the foundation for our country’s subsequent promotion of geothermal power generation, the practical experience gained through the development of this plant will also accelerate the promotion of domestic geothermal power generation. (note: the Quingshui geothermal plant is also referred to as Cingshuei plant)
Vice President Lai Ching-te, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng, and Yilan County Magistrate Lin Zi-miao, were all invited to attend the opening ceremony and jointly witness the great occasion. Vice President Lai pointed out that the Conference of the Parties 26 (COP26) had recently concluded, and carbon reduction had become an international trend. Net zero emissions by 2050 was now the goal of all countries in the world, and also the goal that Taiwan must strive for; it was also the policy direction particularly emphasized by President Tsai this year. Taiwan had strived for energy transition since 2016, and aimed to become Asia’s center of green energy development, conveying to the international community our nation’s determination to jointly fight climate change and move towards the target of “2050 Net Zero Carbon Emissions” with our partners. Today marked an important milestone in the promotion of geothermal power generation in Taiwan; located on the Ring of Fire with the richest geothermal resources, Taiwan certainly should not be absent from the active promotion of geothermal power in the world, and it would be imperative for Taiwan to accelerate the promotion.
Deputy Minister Tseng explained that the Qingshui Geothermal Power Plant was a prime example of cooperation between the central and local governments, and the private sector, and he looked forward to copying this experience across the country to accelerate the promotion of domestic geothermal power generation. The government has set a geothermal Feed-in-Tariff rate (TWD 5.1956/kWh in 2021) in accordance with the “Renewable Energy Development Act”, and implemented the “Regulation on Demonstration and Encouragement of Geothermal Power Generation” to share investment risks, setting the upper limit of funding at TWD 100 million. In the future, the government will continue to promote relevant policies, build a friendly environment for geothermal development, and encourage the private sector to continually invest in geothermal power generation.
Regarding the promotion of geothermal energy, the government has implemented relevant promotion measures. In addition to setting a reasonable Feed-in-Tariff rate, it also offers incremental rates (TWD 6.1710/kWh in the first 10 years and TWD 3.5685/kWh in the next 10 years) to lessen investors’ burden of repayment in the early stage. After cross-departmental coordination, the government has also increased the threshold capacity of geothermal energy for environmental assessment to 10 MW (previously 0.5 MW), which significantly shortens the application time for geothermal energy. At the same time, the government has amended the “Renewable Energy Development Act” to raise the installation capacity of the third type of renewable energy power generation equipment to 2MW, simplifying the application procedures for small renewable energy facilities; set up a geothermal power generation information network, disclosing related documents and records of past geothermal surveys as references for the industry. In the future, we will use the development experience of this power plant to refine the geothermal application procedures, review the geothermal energy Feed-in-Tariff rate, and accelerate the promotion of domestic geothermal power generation through the model of cooperation between the central and local governments.
Taiwan must develop environment-friendly, clean and sustainable renewable energy. The stability of geothermal power generation is even more indispensable to Taiwan that has an isolated power grid. To achieve the goal, the Ministry of Economic Affairs will continue to actively promote various policies and measures related to geothermal energy development, and create a good development environment to cultivate our country’s geothermal industry. The ministry looks forward for all sectors to cooperate with the government to jointly facilitate the realization of our vision of achieving net-zero by 2050.