September 29, 2017

Changhua wind farm project must pass second assessment

By Yang Mien-chieh and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writer | Taipei Times |

The government’s first-phase offshore wind-power generation project has been remanded to the developers, who have been asked to resubmit their proposal once they have more data on the project, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.

The Fuhai Changhua Offshore Wind power Generation Project had been referred to a second-stage environmental assessment due the project’s proximity to an Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin habitat and protected reefs.

According to Articles 8 to 12 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (環境影響評估法), a detailed notice on potential environmental consequences must be published within 30 days, should the assessment committee decide that a proposal needs to undergo a second-stage environmental assessment.

A public hearing involving local residents, developers and experts should be held at the end of the 30-day period, according to the act.

The project was intended to be built between 8km and 13km off the coast of Changhua County’s Fangyuan Township (芳苑), with a combined capacity of less than 120MW, the EPA said, adding that it was to take two years to build.

Environmental protection groups protested the proposal, saying that the planned location for the wind farm was too close to a dolphin habitat and protected reefs.

The amended proposal would have placed the wind farm 2.9km out of the dolphin habitat and foundations for the pylons were to be laid in waters more than 30m deep, avoiding fishing zones and protect reefs.

The originally planned 3MW and 5MW turbines were to be changed to 8MW turbines to cut down on the number of units, while spacing between turbines was to be increased to 0.8km on the east-to-west axis and 1km on the north to south axis, the amended proposal said.

Monitoring equipment for birds would be set up prior to, during and after the construction of the wind farm to track the movements of birds in the area, the proposal said.

The committee blocked the amended proposal and remanded it to a special task force.

The subsequent proposal must include analysis on soil liquefaction and the dangers posed to the turbines by earthquakes and subgrade reaction, the committee said.

The applicants also had to provide more information on the relationship between the wind farm and local wind forces, as well as underwater cultural assets, the committee said.

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