Rival geothermal projects raising heat in Yilan County

  • Sep 12, 2019
  • Taipei Times

The Yilan County Government is endangering a geothermal power generation project by denying it land use rights, former Taiwan Environmental Protection Union chairman Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎) said yesterday, announcing that he has asked the Control Yuan to investigate the situation.

Kao, who runs a geothermal power company, told a news conference in Taipei that his firm and National Yilan University have been collaborating on a project to generate geothermal power at the Cingshuei Geothermal Plant by using a well that CPC Corp, Taiwan had drilled in the hope of finding petroleum.

However, ever since the county government awarded a build-operate-transfer (BOT) geothermal power project to another company about three years ago, it has been trying to drive his firm away, he said.

His company is operating on a lease contract between the county government and the university, but the county government has said that it would not continue granting the university land use rights for the well, Kao said.

An Yilan County deputy commissioner in April said that the county would extend the contract until the end of next year, but it has not kept its word, and the contract is scheduled to end today, he said.

His geothermal power generation unit has a capacity of 150 kilowatts (kW), which translates to an annual revenue of NT$5 million (US$160,154) at a price of NT$6.1 per kilowatt-hour, but the other company’s project, which has the rights to use a nearby well with a capacity of 250kW, is more lucrative for the county government.

His facility, which took four-and-a-half years to research and develop, has been generating electricity for public use since April, but has not been paid by Taiwan Power Co, as the county government has refused to grant it a land use permit and a so-called “miscellany waiving permit” for small-scale renewable energy generation facilities, Kao said.

The two wells are on the same plot of land, so he wants to know why his project, which occupies less space, is facing obstacles, while the other firm was able to bypass an environmental review to build its geothermal power generation facility, he said.

“Holdovers from the former Yilan County administration” have apparently hijacked Yilan County Commissioner Lin Zi-miao (林姿妙), Kao said.

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