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BMI View: Taiwan's power market has grappled with significant political turmoil over the last year, which
has implications for investment priorities and the future power mix. Despite USD9bn+ pledged (and largely
invested) in a fourth nuclear plant - and a successful safety exercise for its first unit in July 2015 - the entire
project was mothballed that year. A new government came to power in early 2016, with an avowedly antinuclear
and pro renewable manifesto, the radical nature of which already appears to have generated
friction with senior personnel at the state-run power utility. Partial nuclear dependence will decline across
our ten year forecast period, although the new government's pledge to eliminate this form of power entirely
looks too ambitious. While renewables will take up some of the slack, the fossil fuel dependent thermal
sector appears set to be the main driver of overall generation and capacity growth, rising from an estimated
80% of total generation in 2015 to over 90% by 2025.
GDP growth appears set to pick up sustainably from 2017, after several weak years. This should ensure that
budget revenues are available for investment in power infrastructure, which the new administration intends
to channel largely towards renewables. Refitted coal fired facilities should also come online over the next
few years, albeit with delays.
Taiwan sits just below mid-table in our regional rankings, taking 9th place, out of a total of 17 countries. It
sits one place below Japan and one place above the Philippines. A heavy import dependence, the dominance
of Taipower, anti-competitive pricing policies and an attendant lack of opportunities for private investors
prevent Taiwan from challenging countries ranked higher up in the table.
Key Trends And Developments
? There have been setbacks to the upgrade of coal facilities over the last year, with the schedules for
Linkou Unit 1, Linkou Unit 2 and Talin Unit 2 all suffering delays between November 2015 and early
2016.Indefinite suspension of the Lungmen nuclear facility, despite a successful safety test (July 2015).
The government mothballed the project that year and the resounding election victory for a stridently antinuclear
new administration in early 2016 means that the project is highly unlikely to be revived, unless
the country faces drastic shortages and/or there is a major shift in public opinion.