Renewable energy and natural resources to Taiwan

Trends and opportunities

The market

Taiwan has long been an important natural resources trading partner and investor in Australia with multiple opportunities opening up due to the renewable energy targets set by the new government.

Taiwan lacks natural resources and relies heavily on imported energy sources, with 98 per cent of its energy and mineral resources from overseas. Natural resources such as coal, iron ore and other metals therefore continue to be major import items to Taiwan from Australia. In 2016, Australia supplied 64 per cent (about 29 million tonnes) of Taiwan’s thermal coal, 75 per cent (about five million tonnes) of cooking coal, and 82 per cent (about 17 million tonnes) of iron ore. Other top natural resource import to Taiwan from Australia include aluminum, copper, and zinc.

Taiwan energy generation portfolio 2015:

  • Coal: 44.58 per cent
  • LNG: 31.38 per cent
  • Nuclear: 14.13 per cent
  • Oil: 4.68 per cent
  • Renewables: 4.06 per cent
  • Pumped hydro: 1.18 per cent.

Renewable energy currently constitutes around four per cent of total power generated in Taiwan. Conventional thermal sources, mainly coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG), remain major sources of electricity generation in the country, accounting for around 76 per cent of total power generated.

Taiwan renewables generation portfolio 2015:

  • Hydro: 42.68 per cent
  • WTE: 30.98 per cent
  • Onshore wind: 14.56 per cent
  • Solar: 8.36 per cent
  • Biomass: 3.41 per cent.

In response to climate change, the Taiwanese Government has set a renewable energy target of 20 per cent by 2025, with expected total renewable power generation capacity of 27.36 gigawatt — an ambitious growth from the 4.3 gigawatt in 2015. A feed-in-tariff (FIT) system for renewable energy has been in place since 2009. Meanwhile, amendment of the 50 year-old Electricity Act was passed by the Legislative Yuan on 11 January 2017, establishing clear goals to eliminate nuclear power by 2025, offer further policy benefits to renewable energy, and eventually liberalise the energy market. Currently, the state-owned Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) has the monopoly in the power market.

The market expectation and favourable policy environment fueled the renewable energy sector. Emphasis has been laid on offshore wind and solar, the two fast-booming renewable sectors. Offshore wind in particular has attracted high interest from international developers and investors. Wind resources offshore along the west coast of Taiwan is regarded one of the most abundant in the world, and the government has announced a series of phased development targets and policy measures, aiming to reach four gigawatt of installed capacity by 2030.

Photovoltaic solar is another focus, with an aggressive policy goal of 20 gigawatt by 2025. Solar resources in Taiwan concentrate in the southern part of the island, mostly small-scale rooftop solar or ground-mounted on retired farmland. Other renewable energy included in the policy goals are geothermal, biogas/biofuel and run-of-river hydropower (Source: Publications and statistics by Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs. Accessed February 2016).

Opportunities

Offshore wind

The government has announced 36 designated offshore wind zones along the west coast of Taiwan, where the wind resources are most abundant. Incentivised by the 20-year FIT program and other policy benefits, domestic and international developers have one by one announced development projects and commenced environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies. In order to secure exclusive development rights to a specific zone, a developer has to acquire Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) approval of its EIA by end of 2017.

Opportunities for Australian businesses include:

  • offshore wind project development and investment
  • environmental/geotechnical survey, analysis and engineering
  • EPCIC service
  • marine construction and offshore engineering
  • subsea cable laying
  • project finance.

Solar

Taiwan has been one of the world’s top solar cell manufacturers—in 2015, two out of the top ten solar cell manufacturers in the world are Taiwanese. The policy goal of 20 gigawatt solar power by 2025 consists of rooftop (three gigawatt) and ground-mounted (17 gigawatt). Project tends to be small-scale and potential sites are scattered, on building rooftops and uncultivated farmlands. Floating solar in fish farms has recently been gaining momentum.

Opportunities for Australian businesses include:

  • Solar project development and investment, in both Taiwan and overseas
  • Research and Development (R&D) cooperation.

Opportunities for Australian businesses include:

  • Solar project development and investment, in both Taiwan and overseas
  • Research and Development (R&D) cooperation.

Other renewables and related opportunities

Renewable energy in Taiwan enjoys FIT rate published by the government, therefore present incentive and opportunities for Australian business. Renewable energy projects will also be given the option of selling electricity directly to end users.

  • Geothermal: located on the pacific ring of fire, Taiwan’s geothermal resources is estimated over 30 gigawatt. Opportunities exist for project development and technology cooperation.
  • Carbon capture and storage: joint R&D opportunities.
  • Smart grid and other smart technology for energy savings and management.

Natural resources

Under the nuclear-free by 2025 policy goal, nuclear power will be gradually phased out. In 2016, nuclear power still accounts for 12 per cent of power generation in Taiwan. It is generally expected that in the short-term, demand for coal and gas-fired power will rise to fill the gap until renewable generation catches up, presenting an opportunity for increased coal and LNG export to Taiwan.

Tariffs, regulations and customs

The Renewable Energy Development Act (2009) set the foundation for renewable energy development, particularly the feed-in-tariff system and other subsidies. The recent amendment of the 50-year-old Electricity Act will further offer renewable energy additional benefits such as priority of grid connection, discounted connection fee, and option to sell directly to end users.

Feed-n-tariff (FIT) scheme

FIT rates are reviewed and published every year by Bureau of Energy (BoE). Find out more about current FIT rates on the Bureau of Energy website.

Marketing your products and services

Market entry

It is recommended that Australian companies partner or form joint venture with local Taiwanese companies when pursuing opportunities across the renewable energy sector. Austrade Taiwan constantly interacts with major industry players in Taiwan, and stands ready to supply additional information and market intelligence on specific energy and natural resources sector opportunities, to provide assistance on potential local partner identification and market entry advisory.

Links and industry contacts

Energy-related

Bureau of Energy (BoE)
Environmental Protection Administration (EPA)
Green Energy and Environment Research Laboratories, Industrial Technology
Green Energy Industry Information Net (Mandarin Chinese)
Investment Commission, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA)
Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC)
Million Rooftop PVs Promotion Office (Mandarin Chinese)
Research Institute (ITRI) Taiwan Photovoltaic Industry Association
Taiwan Wind Turbine Industry Association
Thousand Wind Turbines Project Office, BoE

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.

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