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Wind power an economic fit in Taiwan, but issues remain: experts

2011/05/06 21:05:37

Taipei, May 6 (CNA) Experts on Friday urged the government toconsider wind power, and especially smaller-sized turbines, as aprimary source of renewable energy because the industry in Taiwan isrelatively well developed.

Tso Chun-to, the director of Taiwan Institute of EconomicResearch Research Division I, said at a seminar on Taiwan's renewableenergy policy that the country should concentrate in building smallto medium-sized wind turbines because of their substantial marketpotential.

Taiwan is fully capable of manufacturing 10kW or smaller windturbines, Tso said, and Taiwan's output value of such products willhit an estimated NT$1.7 billion in 2011, about five times the totalin 2010.

Their primary use would be to generate power in street lights,traffic signals and communication facilities, according to the TaiwanSmall & Medium Wind Turbine Association, where Tso serves as thesecretary-general.

Small wind turbines can produce 3,300 kilowatt-hours ofelectricity per year, supporting 70 percent of an average household'sneeds, and can be easily installed on roofs, making them a goodsource of energy for people living in remote areas, the associationsaid.

With more than 20 system integration companies and 10manufacturers investing in the field, Tso said, Taiwan has a solidwind power industry chain, increasing the viability of developing thebusiness here.

He also suggested that Taiwan could develop specialized windturbines that can be incorporated into landscapes to attracttourists.

"Just look at how much fun the wind turbines added to the TaipeiInternational Flora Expo, " he said, referring to the expo's 12 windturbines installed along the Dajia River Park Area.

Despite Tso's enthusiasm, National Taiwan University economicsprofessor Chen Tain-jy said the government needed to devise a broaderpolicy on renewable energy and address practical issues, such aspossible noise pollution from wind mills, before wind power couldtake hold.

"Many of the energy policies are only half workable due to a lackof comprehensive planning, " Chen said. "The government needs to fillthe gap between theory and practice when introducing new policies sothat everyone can benefit from green energy."

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)