Over a hundred New Taipei City residents yesterday staged multiple protests against the government-approved construction of two wind turbines along the coast of Sanchi and Shimen, arguing that their quality of life and well-being will be severely comprised if the alternative energy initiatives come to fruition.
The local action group, spearheaded by New Taipei City legislators Tsai Chin-hsian and Cheng Dai Li-hsiang, traveled from Baisha Bay to the buildings of the North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area Administration, the Ministry of Economics Affairs’ Bureau of Energy and finally, the New Taipei City Hall.
According to Sanchi protest group representative Tina Lai, the government approved of the Haiwei Windpower Co.’s (海威風力發電公司) proposal to build two wind turbines in Sanchi and Shimen back in 2008.
However, the voices of the local residents, who had been vehemently against erecting wind-powered electrical generators just “a mere five meters away from residential apartments” were never recognized, said Lai.
The protest at the North Coast administration office proved to be fruitful for the team, which rented out three buses to make their concerns heard. After considering the ecological impact of the electrical generators, the scenic administration said on its website, that it will “set up a committee to evaluate the impact on the intertidal environment [of Sanchi and Shimen] by the wind power units based on Article 12 and Article 17 of the Act for the Development of Tourism.”
Lee Chun-lee, deputy head of the Renewable Energy Division at the Energy Bureau, was less encouraging when faced with the mass of protestors, explaining that he would “make sure the message is heard by all members of the energy bureau.”
Economic Development Bureau Director Chiang Chun-Ting, speaking on behalf of the New Taipei City government, said they were willing to review the construction permit, yet the power to approve or deny the permit belongs to the Bureau of Energy.
Communication between Haiwei Windpower and Sanchi residents will also help the case’s progress, Chiang added.
The responses appear to be mildly encouraging to Lai, although she pointed out that the June 22 permit deadline for the Bureau of Energy to approve Haiwei Windpower’s project is drawing near.
“The Energy Bureau has said it would let us know if they’ve come to a decision, but it didn’t say when.” Lai said, stressing, “I just want to make it clear that we are not against the generation of alternative energy sources.”
“We are, however, very concerned about the locations of these wind turbines and the fact that local residents were not consulted regarding their erection,” she added.
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