French energy developer Eolfi’s offshore floating wind farm project off the coast of Taoyuan was yesterday rejected by an Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) ad hoc committee, even after the developer proposed a 75 percent reduction to its development area.
The project, named W1N, was planned by the French company’s Taiwanese subsidiary, Eolfi Greater China, on a site between 15km and 22km from the shores of Taoyuan’s Guanyin (觀音) and Sinwu (新屋) districts.
Since a first meeting on Nov. 3, the developer has proposed three changes to the scope of the project, reducing the area from 131km2 to 65km2 and finally to 33km2, and extending the site’s distance from the shore.
However, the committee returned the case to its supervising agency, the Bureau of Energy, citing its potential clashes with a cross-strait direct shipping fairway, the bureau’s No. 2 offshore wind farm and the third liquefied natural gas terminal project proposed by CPC Corp, Taiwan.
Maritime Port Bureau section head Tsai Yu-ming (蔡育明) voiced strong opposition to the Eolfi project, saying that its short distance from the cross-strait fairway would pose a significant danger to ship traffic in the nation’s northwestern waters.
As the project involves too many problems, the energy bureau should have offered thorough risk evaluation documentation before it forwarded the case to the EPA, committee member Lee Ke-tsung (李克聰) said, adding that it should not leave all the pressure of rejecting the case on the committee.
While impeding ship traffic is a significant problem, the attitude of the port bureau seems inconsistent, as it did not raise as many concerns when it was reviewing its offshore wind farm project in the same region, committee member Ma Hsiao-kang (馬小康) said.
Developing the wind power industry is the nation’s policy, but the government has failed to evaluate development projects in the area with an integral perspective, committee member Jeng Ming-shiou (鄭明修) said.
The energy bureau did not identify the project’s problems before forwarding the case to the EPA, as required by Article 11-1 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Enforcement Rules (環境影響評估法施行細則), so the project is to be returned, the committee said after its meeting.
If the energy bureau is to forward the case again, it should first highlight those problems or present alternative solutions, the committee added.
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