Germany wind power firm InfraVest to quit Taiwan, move to Fujian

Updated: 01 Mar 2010
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TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taiwan branch of InfraVest, a leading wind power company from Germany, has announced its decision to withdraw investment from the island to the coastal area of China's southeastern Fujian Province, according to a report of the United Daily News. But the company said the operations of its existing wind power generators and those still under construction will not be affected by the pullout.

A vice president of InfraVest Taiwan said Taiwan's sole power distributor, Taipei Power Co. (Taipower), has set the procurement price for the wind electricity generated by InfraVest at NT$ 2.38 per kilowatt-hour which is better than previous offer but remains far lower than the prices offered by most other nations.

The price offered by Taipower is even below the range of NT$ 2.47 to NT$ 2.96 offered in China.

The Taiwan branch has already laid off 10 employees, about 20 percent of staff here. More will be let go in two months' time.

But the company will still maintain adequate personnel to ensure the normal operations of wind power facilities on Taiwan's west coast despite the suspension on new investment for 2010 and planned sale of assets.

InfraVest has launched 25 sets of wind power generators for commercial operations of around four years in Holong and Chubei areas of Miaoli County.

The company has constructed 19 generators in Hsinchu County with seven having won operating licenses from the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

InfraVest just completed construction of a new wind power farm in Taoyuan County late last year with 14 undergoing test runs.

In addition, there are also generators operating or under testing on the coastals areas of Taichung and Changhua counties.

Tu Yueh-yuan, chief engineer at Taipower, said there are still profits in the power purchasing price adopted by the MOEA.

Tu said his company has not ruled out the possibility of purchasing InfraVest's assets in Taiwan after careful evaluation.

Officials at the Bureau of Energy under the MOEA said that no wind power companies, except InfraVest, have decided to pull out from the Taiwan market because of the price issue.

Many solar power companies have actually decided to boost their capital investment in Taiwan after lawmakers ratified the Renewable Energy Development Act last year, they said.

They said it is unfair to compare the offered purchasing price in Taiwan to those proposed by other nations because the situations in various countries are different.

For example, the guaranteed electricity purchasing period is set at 20 years in Taiwan, longer than the 15-year period in most countries, they noted.

Furthermore, Taiwan has a superb natural environment for the development of wind power and commands much lower investment costs than most countries.

When negotiating for suitable price levels, both the government and investors should keep in mind the feelings and responses from consumers because Taipower has to eventually transfer the costs to its customers, they said.

Investors should have these factors included into their investment plans in Taiwan, they added. 
SOURCE: The China Post
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