In Taiwan, development of renewable energy is an irreversible trend to replace, at least partially, the fossil energy. Article 21 of the Basic Environment Law (2002) (環境基本法, the "Basic Law") ruled " Government bodies at all levels shall actively implement measures to control carbon dioxide emissions and establish related plans to mitigate the greenhouse effect." The wind power has been broadly recognized as a primary type of renewable energy, because of it less carbon emissions, sustainable power generation, lower ecological damage, and respectively higher energy conversion rate (compare to other renewable energy).
In order to ensure the energy development will not cause irreparable harm to the environment, Article 24 of the Basica Law further regulated that "The central government shall establish an environmental impact assessment (EIA) system to prevent and reduce the negative impact of government policies or development activities on the environment." Section 1(10), Article 5 of the Environmental Impact Assessments Act openly stipulated the EIA shall be conducted for "nuclear and other energy" developments. Such "other energy" include the wind power.
However, a big wind power project proposed by the InfraVest Wind Power Group (a Germany company) located in Yuanli, Miaoli county, which had passed the EIA process, encountered local residences’ continual contests since 2012. What is the thing going on the EIS in this Yuan-li project? Whether the impact, caused by the noises, of the quality of residents’ life surrounding the wind turbines was not be sufficiently considered in the EIS process? This paper wants to introduce the Final Environment Impact Statement (FEIS)-- determined by the State of Hawaii-- for the Kawailoa Wind Farm project located on the north shore, as a reference. Hopefully we may have a lesson and learn for improvement on Taiwan’s environmental Impact Assessment system in the future.
This article has four parts. Part I will introduce the Kawailoa Wind Farm project. Part II is the factual and procedural background for this project. Part III is an analysis to the compliance of this project with Hawaii’s EIS regulations, and certain insufficiency of the procedure. Part IV will try to make some recommends to Taiwan’s EIS for wind power project, and conclude balance and hope in the wind power projects in Taiwan. Instead of the plans for off-shore wind power, this article will focus on the traditional inland wind turbines because it is still Taiwan’s sole wind power solution.
Part I INTRODUCTION
In 2010, Kawailoa Wind LLC (“Kawailoa Wind”), proposed constructing a wind farm that included thirty sets of wind turbines and related wind energy generating facilities at the Kawailoa Plantation land (a big farm land on the north shore, Oahu, Hawaii), which was owned by Kamehameha Schools (the “Project”). Kawailoa Wind prepared a final environmental impact statement (the “FEIS”) under Hawaii Restated Statutes (“HRS”) chapter 343 and Hawaii Administrative Rules (“HAR”) 11-200. Because this Project was established on highly scene-sensitive and culturally sensitive land in world famous popular visitor/tourist area (North Shore, Oahu), the local residents were concerned about the aesthetical, ideological, and cultural impact.