What you need to know
A daily breakdown of Taiwan's top stories and why they matter.
Taiwan reduced the feed-in-tariff (FIT) rate and set production caps for offshore wind power firms on Wednesday but backed away from a proposed larger cut that had irked wind power developers such as Danish firm Orsted A/S, CNA reports.
The FIT rate, which governs wind power projects that sign power purchasing agreements with state-owned Taipower, will drop to NT$5.516 per kilowatt hour (kWh) from its 2018 rate of NT$5.8498 per unit.
Danish firm Orsted A/S said on Jan. 2 it would pause two offshore wind power projects in Changhua County over disagreements on the FIT rate.
Orsted Offshore CEO Martin Neubert said in a Wednesday statement the company would attempt to “mitigate the adverse impacts from the production cap and the reduced feed-in-tariff with the objective of making the projects investable.”
The Ministry of Economic Affairs had originally proposed cutting the FIT rate to NT$5.106 per kwh in November of last year. This angered wind farm developers, who also said they had failed to receive permits for offshore wind projects.
On Wednesday, Bureau of Energy head Lin Chuan-neng (林全能) said the permits for Orsted A/S, along with other applicants, would be issued with the next two days, according to CNA.
Taiwan’s Risk Society and Policy Research Center noted that the new FIT rates are lower than those of Germany, but higher than those of Japan.
Foxconn rethinking plans for Wisconsin plant
Reuters reports that Foxconn Technology Group is considering scaling back or dropping entirely its plans to make cutting-edge LCD panels at a US$10 billion plant in Wisconsin.
The move by the Taiwan-based corporation, which is the main manufacturing partner of Apple, could put in jeopardy promises to create 13,000 jobs in a project which was previously touted by U.S. President Donald Trump and former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
Reuters cited Louis Woo (胡國輝), a Foxconn executive and special assistant to chairman Terry Guo (郭台銘), as saying the company was reconsidering its Wisconsin plans due to the high cost of making advanced LCD TV screens in the U.S.
Woo said the company intends to use its Wisconsin site primarily as a base for engineers and researchers, according to Reuters.
Foxconn has said in the past it has been left in a precarious position by the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. The company, which does most of its manufacturing in China, said last month it was considering opening an iPhone factory in Vietnam.
Other news from Taiwan:
► U.S. intelligence heads said on Tuesday they foresee Beijing continuing its attempts to force Taiwan to accept its “one China” principle in the year ahead. (Taipei Times)
► Taoyuan police busted a criminal business operated by Chinese and Taiwanese selling fake iPhones in Taiwan in concert with groups in China. (Taipei Times)
► A White House map showing Taiwan as independent from China caught the eye of internet users after it was displayed at a bizarre Monday press conference in which U.S. White House national security advisor John Bolton also held a notepad reading “5,000 troops in Venezuela.” Reporters quickly spotted the very unsubtle slip-up. (South China Morning Post)
► A magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck off the east coast of Taiwan on Wednesday afternoon, sending a jolt through Taipei. (CNA)
► Taiwan’s education ministry says it aims to train 5,000 English language teachers by 2030 as it aims to become a bilingual country by that year. (CNA)
Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)
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