Government urged to set up areas off-limits to offshore wind farms

01/18/2021 09:39 PM
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CNA photo Jan. 18, 2021
CNA photo Jan. 18, 2021

Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) Two ruling lawmakers and a group of environmentalists called on the central government on Monday to establish restricted areas for offshore wind projects for environmental protection reasons.

The suggestion was made against the backdrop that a foreign company is reportedly planning a possible offshore wind farm project in waters off northeastern Taiwan.

The EnerVest Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of the German InfraVest Group, is said to be attempting to set up a wind farm around the islets of Pengjia, Huaping and Mianhua.

The proposal, however, has received objections from local fishermen and governments for fear that doing so could jeopardize fishermen's livelihoods, as the area has long been a traditional fishing ground.

Speaking at a press conference, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lai Pin-yu (賴品妤) said the area around the three northern islets has been an important fishing ground for local fishermen, with two-thirds of the nation's annual offshore fishing catch coming from this area.

Fishermen in northeastern Taiwan are all opposed to the project, according to Lai.

DPP Legislator Hung Sun-han (洪申翰) said the offshore wind project is an important part of the government's green energy policy.

However, unlike in two previous phases of offshore wind farm projects, when the central government first drew up potential sites for energy developers to choose from to set up their farms, the government did not do so in the ongoing third phase of the offshore wind project, allowing developers to instead find their own locations, Hung said.

That means some developers could choose sites that could pose potential threats to the livelihoods of fisherman as well as local environments and ecosystems, Hung said.

Hung and Lai both called on the government to come up with guidelines as to which areas should be off-limits to offshore wind projects for environmental or aviation safety reasons.

(By Lin Yu-hsuan and Joseph Yeh)

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