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ECCT launches stakeholder engagement report for renewable energy projects

The ECCT has published a new report offering insights and recommendations on ways to improve the permitting process and engagement with various stakeholders involved in renewable energy projects in Taiwan. The “Taiwan Renewable Energy Industry Challenges - Best Practice Report for Stakeholder Engagement and Permitting” (臺灣再生能源產業之挑戰 利害關係人溝通與許可最佳實務報告) was compiled by the ECCT and Niras Taiwan with contributions from the ECCT Wind Energy Committee's Stakeholder Engagement Best Practices Working Group, comprising 33 industry experts from 27 local and international companies and organisations.

The report was launched by members of the Wind Energy committee to fellow chamber members and invited guests of honour from the government at a lunch event today. Government officials attending the launch were Dr Chen Chung-Hsien, Director, Renewable and Prospective Energy Development Division, Energy Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) (經濟部能源署再生與前瞻能源發展組陳崇憲組長);  Su Jin-sheng, Director, Office of Energy & Carbon Reduction, Executive Yuan (行政院能源及減碳辦公室蘇金勝主任) and Tsai Meng-Yu, Director, Department of Environment Protection, Ministry of Environment (環境部環境保護司蔡孟裕司長).

Taiwan has made progress over the past decade in developing renewable energy projects. Moreover, Taiwan's Renewable Energy Development Act (as amended in 2019) enshrined into law a target of 27GW of renewable energy capacity by 2025. However, clear milestones to meeting this goal have been missed and targets have been adjusted downwards. Industry leaders have noted that, amongst other challenges, the lack of robust standards and best practices for stakeholder engagement in the Taiwanese market on top of overly complicated permitting procedures, perpetuates market risk and is detrimental to Taiwan's overall energy transition.

Based on a thorough analysis of Taiwan's market and current regulatory environment, the report identifies and summarises the challenges faced by the industry, examines the best international practices, standards, and associated academic research to provide concrete recommendations aimed at expediting green energy development in Taiwan. Among other recommendations, the report advocates for more robust guidelines and resources for stakeholder engagement in Taiwan, which includes a clear definition of who is and who is not a stakeholder and a well-defined stakeholder engagement process. It stresses that a robust and comprehensive stakeholder engagement process should be integral to the planning, execution and operation of renewable energy projects. It is also important to identify and involve genuine stakeholders early on in the process so as to avoid difficulties later on. In addition to clear definitions and guidelines on engagement, it would also help if guidelines included remedies and compensation for stakeholders.

Findings from the report also indicate that a lack of clarity, objectivity, and efficiency at certain points of the permitting processes have exposed projects to greater risk, affected the ability of projects to be completed on time and damaged the perception of the Taiwan market in the eyes of international investors. Amongst other recommendations, the report advocates for clearer guidelines and additional streamlining within permitting processes for renewable energy projects, drawing on the best practices in countries such as the UK, Denmark and Germany. Especially important is improving coordination among government agencies at the national and local level as well as support from the authorities and protection for companies that have followed the best practices.

The ECCT continues to reiterate that a successful green energy rollout is in the best interests of the general public, government and industry. It is therefore imperative that the public and private sectors work together in a proactive and objective manner in order to realize their shared objectives. By launching this report, the ECCT's objective is to promote constructive dialogue among stakeholders from government, political parties, and the general public aimed at fostering collaboration between the private and public sectors to address current challenges and achieve the common goals of expanding and expediting Taiwan's renewable energy rollout so that Taiwan can realize its energy and net zero goals. At the event, Wind Energy committee members reiterated their willingness to work with the government to follow-up on the report by holding workshops or other discussion forums to devise solutions in the common interest.