Vehicles drive past solar panels over a parking lot in Tainan's North District on Aug. 15 last year. Photo courtesy of Tainan Bureau of Transportation via CNA

By Lin Ching-hua and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writer

Renewable energy sources are expected to make up 10 percent of total electricity production this year, Bureau of Energy officials said on Friday, buoying hopes that the nation's green energy transition will get back on track following years of disappointing progress amid the emCOVID-19

Last year, more solar farms than any other year were built in Taiwan, and the pace of construction of offshore wind turbines increased as contractors gained experience, the officials said.

These developments — in conjunction with a projection that the nation's energy consumption would decrease this year — would put Taiwan within reach of the Ministry of Economic Affairs' revised target of boosting renewable energy sources to 20 percent of electricity production by 2026, they said.

The ministry last month extended the deadline for getting 20 percent of the nation's electricity from renewable sources by a year after delays caused by pandemic-related work and supply chain disruptions.

Under the new plan, solar energy production must be increased from a previous target of 10 gigawatts (GW) to 14GW by the end of the year.

The bureau has installed enough solar panels over fish farms to generate 2.5GW of energy, of which 2GW was integrated into the grid, and 0.5GW is to go online in the next three months, they said.

To expand solar energy production this year, the government would seek to install solar panels over fish farms in Tainan and Chiayi County, low-yield agricultural land owned by Taiwan Sugar Corp (Taiwan Sugar) and at the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park (Zhangbin Industrial Park ), they said.

A new wind farm off southwestern Changhua County is already online, they said.

By the end of the year, three solar farms off Changhua and the Formosa II wind power project off Miaoli County would also be activated, adding 0.8GW to the nation's energy supply, they said.

The renewable energy sources last year made up 8.6 percent of the nation's total electricity production, and no significant problems are foreseen in reaching the 10 percent target set for this year, they said.

News source: TAIPEI TIMES