Changhua County considers solar power development

Changhua County's government in central Taiwan is considering developing renewable energy and is hoping to attract investment and support from an international business group that specializes in this area.

County Magistrate Wei Ming-ku (???) said on Friday during a visit to Japan that he is interested in working with private fund manager Equis, which is the largest renewable energy investor in Asia. It manages a fund valued at US$2.7 billion.

So far, the group has a portfolio of 3.7GW in renewable energy capacity in Asia, including the solar power site Wei recently visited in Mito in Japan's Ibaraki Prefecture.

Wei made the remarks after surveying the extensive solar power development site on the visit to Japan to seek investments from the group.

Wei has been impressed by Equis' efforts in renewable energy development, expressing interest in working with the group to help his county attract more investment in solar energy.

The Ibaraki solar power production site used to be a golf course, but after Equis investments, the 74-hectare location now has a solar power generation capacity of 36MW. All of the power produced by the plant is sold to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings on a 20-year contract.

Wei said that Changhua County has kicked off close exchanges with Equis. The visit by Wei's delegation to the Ibaraki solar power plant is aimed at forging even closer ties between Changhua County and Equis, Wei said, adding that his meeting with executives of the group is expected to pave the way for long-term cooperation in the future.

Equis' subsidiary Soleq, a builder, operator, and owner of solar power projects in Asia, has already set up a branch in Taiwan.

According to Wei, Soleq's executives have visited his county several times, and have toured the county's Changhua Coastal Industrial Park, one of the largest industrial zones in Taiwan.

The Changhua County head said that his government is planning to push for cooperation with Soleq, hoping to build the largest solar power plant in the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park.

Already, Soleq has announced that it is planning to invest NT$15 billion (US$473 million) in Changhua to build renewable energy facilities with a capacity of 250MW. Wei said that the investment plan has been welcomed by the county.

The county government and Soleq are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on the investments in coming weeks to set up a strategic partnership in renewable energy development.

Wei said that the Changhua County Government has been working closely with the central government to carry out a policy in which Taiwan will be transformed into a nuclear power-free country by 2025.

Therefore, renewable power development has been prioritized in the county government's development policy, he said.

In addition to solar power energy, Changhua County hopes that Equis will also work with the county in wind power development, Wei said.

Through the efforts in developing solar and wind power, the county head said, Changhua County is expected to become an important renewable energy producer in Taiwan.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel