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Ground-mounted Solar Panel Governance in Taiwan – Third Workshop: Consensus and Conclusions

Date: 21st April 2022

Venue: National Taipei University of Technology

Renewable energy development needs to promote inter-departmental coordination and overall land use planning through departmental spatial planning

CIRES organized the Ground-mounted Solar Panel Governance in Taiwan Workshop Series to analyze various governance gaps and countermeasures for ground-mounted solar panels in Taiwan. The third workshop session was held on 21st April 2022 (Thursday) at the National Taipei University of Technology. More than 20 participants from academia, civic groups, industry and other gathered and discussed together regarding two topics which are inter-departmental spatial planning and renewable energy governance at the local government level.

The first topic considers the dispersed characteristics of solar panels and dense population and narrow landscape conditions in Taiwan. The implementation process will interact with various land use forms and people’s lives. It will further involve multiple stakeholders.

To solve the land use issue of solar panel, four spatial planning methods were suggested as solutions during the workshop, which are “Energy Sector Plan”, “Overall Rural Planning”, “Planning and Designing Solar Panel Zones” and “Decentralized Solar Setup for Small Farmers” as the solutions for short-, medium- and long-term solutions. Besides that, inter-departmental dialogue in particularly recommended the energy and agricultural divisions to prioritize on promoting sectoral plans. Finally, regarding land administration authority, it is recommended to establish the principles of land use control and the principles of solar panel design, as well as focus on the land recoverability and complex utilization.

Furthermore, regarding the second topic, Taiwan’s current regulations include the three energy laws Energy Management Law, Renewable Energy Development Regulations, and Electricity Law. These regulations have not been able to give substantive power to local governments. Therefore, the second topic mainly discussed about the powers and responsibilities of local governments, ways to appropriately divide the responsibility among the central and local government and how to promote among local governments in order to play active roles.

The participants agreed that local governments should possess more powers and responsibilities in renewable energy development and planning. This includes renewable energy planning at the local scale, identification and review of environmental and social issues, review of case sites, monitoring and supervision of operations, benefit sharing, assisting public communication and build consensus, establish a third-party supervision and coordination system (through autonomous regulations), renewable energy investment and operation, etc.

Therefore, it is suggested to conduct a review on the three energy laws, divide the responsibility among the central and local government and revise the Article 6 of the Renewable Energy Development Regulations. Moreover, it is suggested to require local planning obligations for renewable energy and conduct local energy spatial planning up to 2050. We look forward to local governments setting up renewable energy development goals and conducting regional inventory through the renewable energy planning based on each county and city.

Furthermore, the discussion suggested the central government should endow local governments with long-term and sustainable planning in the aspects of funding, manpower, training courses, soft norms etc., Additionally, it was also suggested to increase incentives for local promotions such as combining industrial zone development, overall fund allocation, green certification, electricity cooperation fund, etc. Above suggestions can really help the local governments to actively invest in renewable energy development.

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