Taiwan Lays Plans for $59 Billion in Renewable-Energy FinanceBy and
Green bonds are starting to gather pace since rules unveiled
Plenty of challenges, given lack of a mature supply chain
New energy, meet new finance. That’s the thinking of Taiwan’s government, which is starting to map out funding plans for a power system that can no longer rely on nuclear reactors.
Prime Minister Lin Chuan’s administration aims to increase the share of renewable energy such as water, wind and solar to 20 percent of total power output on the island by 2025, up from 5 percent currently. The Taiwan government hopes to attract NT$1.8 trillion ($59 billion) of private capital.
Developing funding channels will be critical, given the ambitious target. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in a September assessment, said that Taiwan might only raise the share of renewable energy in electricity generation to 9.5 percent by 2025, in part because of the lack of a developed supply chain for the new sources of power.
Among the challenging targets for 2025 set by the island’s government:
- Lower thermal coal’s share in electricity production to 30 percent from 45 percent
- Eliminate nuclear power, which currently accounts for 14 percent
- Raise the share of natural gas to 50 percent from 32 percent
To try and lure investment, authorities will guarantee purchases of the resulting electricity. Taiwan’s green finance is still at an early stage and there will be a lot of business opportunities, said Lin Chih-chi, director general of the department of planning at Financial Supervisory Commission.
Here’s Some of the Challenges:
- The potential of green finance depends on government promotion, said Phoebe Li, vice president of Chinatrust Commercial Bank in Taipei
- Local banks, which lack experience financing green energy -- especially in wind power -- need to team up with foreign banks, she says
- There’s steady growth in green loans every year, said Daniel Teng, chief executive officer of corporate banking at Cathay United Bank
- Valuation for wind deals is fairly difficult; Taiwan needs more talent and consultants in the area, he says
- Green finance deals were more profitable a few years ago; now there is more competition on pricing
- Some local banks are quite conservative in lending, especially for offshore wind projects, Chen Chung-Hsien, a senior specialist at the Bureau of Energy in Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, said in an interview with BNEF in February
- Local banks have more appetite for solar projects
Taiwan is making some headway in the area of green bonds -- a type of security also being endorsed by Apple Inc. -- after rolling out rules for them in April. Four banks including E. Sun Commercial Bank, Chinatrust Commercial Bank, Bank SinoPac and KGI Bank have sold the first batch of green bonds. CPC Corporation, a petroleum and natural-gas refiner, is planning to issue green bonds by the end of this year. Credit Agricole CA also intends to sell green bonds in Taiwan, people familiar with the matter said in May.
— With assistance by Annie Lee