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May 29, 2017

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Liberalization would bring more renewables: premier

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Separating revisions to the Electricity Act (電業法) into two stages would allow for more efficient production and would increase generation from renewables, Premier Lin Chuan said on Tuesday.

The Tsai administration is currently making moves to liberalize the domestic energy market.

The premier told reporters that plans to split the amendment process for the Electricity Act into two stages would not increase the financial burden on Taiwan Power Company (Taipower).

Lin said the first stage of reforms would encourage the entrance of green generation into the energy market.

The second stage of amendments would focus on reforming the way the domestic market is supplied by more traditional fuel sources.

The government aims to lay out a complementary package and to provide a more diverse power selection for consumers and buyers, Lin said.

The Tsai administration has made liberalization of the electricity market a key component of its energy policy since taking office and during the presidential campaign.

When asked about the details of the revisions — which would allow consumers to purchase green energy — and whether that would go against the government's consensus to prohibit a hike in electricity prices, Lin denied there would be any conflict.

The green energy revisions are intended to implement direct supply for consumers, direct selling to Taipower or exportation to certain clients via Taipower's power grid, Lin said.

Direct purchase of green energy would enable Taipower to avoid shouldering higher costs, he said, stressing that it could be beneficial for electricity prices.

It would also provide some enterprises the opportunity to label their services as "green energy" and to provide direct purchasing opportunities for companies seeking green energy certification, Lin added.

Lin denied renewables alone could fill the gap left by nuclear energy, which the government hopes to phase out by 2025.

"Nuclear and green energy are two different types of energy," he said, stressing that complementary measures must first be completed in order to see nuclear energy phased out.

The Electricity Act has been stuck in legislative limbo for the past 21 years.

As the Executive Yuan prepares to pass its own version of revisions to the act this Thursday and to send it to the Legislature for review, it marks the bill's seventh foray into the nation's top lawmaking body.

The latest actions follow President Tsai Ing-wen's policy coordination meeting between the Democratic Progressive Party- led (DPP) Executive Yuan and DPP caucus members, which reaffirmed the president's strong desire to see through the Electricity Act's revision in two stages.

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