If you can’t read this email - please click here
STLI Quarterly Newsletter 2022 NO.03
The Ministry of Economic Affairs announced the Renewable Energy Development Act amendment proposal to create a friendly environment for geothermal and other renewable energy

  On June 21, 2022, the Ministry of Economic Affairs(經濟部)announced the Renewable Energy Development Act(再生能源發展條例)draft amendment proposal ( hereafter “the draft amendment”) to build a friendly renewable energy development environment and strengthen the legal basis of 2050 net-zero target through revising the regulation of offshore wind, solar energy, combustion-based biomass energy, and geothermal energy development.

Challenges to Geothermal Development in Taiwan

  Taiwan has great potential in developing geothermal energy, and current geothermal exploration and development should be licensed by local governments under the Hot Spring Act(溫泉法). However, geothermal development in Taiwan faces many obstacles due to the following reasons:

(1) Geothermal exploration and development application procedures vary between local governments;

(2) Regulating geothermal energy development is different from regulating hot springs usage, and local governments’ hot spring review committees might not have relevant geothermal profession to review the applications;

(3) Land use is restricted by many other different regulations;

(4) Lack of specific legislation or regulatory framework for geothermal energy.

Developing Regulatory Legal Framework for Geothermal Energy

  Because of aforementioned challenges, the Bureau of Energy(能源局) has made the following amendments to the Renewable Energy Development Act:

(1) The draft amendment exempts geothermal exploration and development application from the Hot Spring Act, and constructs a procedure that geothermal exploration and development license will be reviewed and issued by the central government under a consistent procedure;

(2) To protect environment and hot spring industry, the draft amendment requires the developers to reinject 90% of the geothermal tail-water back into the ground and assess the impact towards the relevant hot spring industry when developing in a hot spring area. On the other hand, to protect the rights of indigenous people, geothermal exploration and development should also comply with the consulting process of Article 21 of the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law(原住民族基本法);

(3) To loosen restrictions on land use, the draft amendment stipulates that the restrictions of land category change on hillsides from the Non-Urban Land Use Regulations(非都市土地使用管制規則)is exempted in geothermal development case.

  In addition to the new geothermal energy regulations, there are also amendments for offshore wind, solar energy, and combustion-based biomass power.

Offshore Wind

  Because of the breakthrough in offshore wind power technology development, the restriction that wind turbines installation cannot exceed the bounds of territorial sea has been removed.

Solar Energy

  To encourage the installation of solar panels, the draft amendment refers to relevant German legislation and requires new building roofs to be equipped with solar panels.

Combustion-Based Biomass

  To encourage the use of industrial surplus materials (such as agricultural waste) locally to reduce environmental costs, the draft amendment removes the restrictions, which requires the combustion-type biomass power plants can only be built in industrial areas.


1.The Ministry of Economic Affairs announced the Renewable Energy Development Act draft amendment to create a friendly environment for geothermal and other renewable energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs, R.O.C., available at: https://www.moea.gov.tw/Mns/populace/news/News.aspx?kind=1&menu_id=40&news_id=100481(last visited: Sep. 12, 2022).
2.Briefing Session on Renewable Energy Development Act Amendment, Environment Information Center, available at: https://e-info.org.tw/node/234751 (last visited: Sep. 12, 2022).

The Draft Digital Services Intermediary Act is Now Halted and Needs Further Discussions and Studies Before Being Proposed Again

  The National Communications Commission(國家通訊傳播委員會;hereinafter NCC)proposed the draft Digital Services Intermediary Act(數位中介服務法草案;hereinafter the DSIA proposal)on June 29, 2022, with the aim to build up a safe, predictable, and reliable Internet environment by regulating the “digital intermediary service providers”. However, it has aroused so much concern that further details needs to be thought of before it can be proposed again.


  The thrive and wide-spread of the online platforms have changed modern daily life. Thus, NCC considers that the online service providers bear certain social responsibility. With reference to the European Union Digital Services Act, the DSIA proposal would like to impose more obligations on the “digital intermediary service providers”, who provide Internet connections, quick access or data storage services (see DSIA proposal, Article 2). These obligations include: (1) to lift up higher “transparency” of the platforms (see DSIA proposal, Article 16, 21, 29~30), and (2) whenever the authorities or courts issue rulings of “warning”, “removal”, “limiting access of illegal contents” or ask for other necessary actions, the service providers have to comply with the rulings (see DSIA proposal, Article 18~20). Moreover, the platforms with more than 2.3 million active users would be categorized as “designated ” online platform operators and would be subject to more obligations required by the authorities (see DSIA proposal, Article 32~36). These obligations include: to analyze the platform functions or the major systematic risks on an annual basis, to formulate proportionate and effective measures to mitigate systematic risks, to authorize a third-party to do the audits on the fulfillment and self-regulation mechanism of the legal obligations of the platforms, and to inform the users about the main parameters used by the platform as well as how the users can adjust or affect the outcome of the use of the parameters in the platform’s Terms of Service). Those who do not obey the law would be punished with administrative fines.

The disputes over the draft Digital Services Intermediary Act

  In order to gather public opinions toward the DSIA proposal, NCC has held 3 public hearings on 11th, 16th, and 18th Aug., 2022. The public have shown their concerns over this DSIA proposal. In particular, the arguments are:

(1) The DSIA proposal lacks clarity:

  For example, the definitions of ‘‘illegal contents’’ and “the extraterritorial digital intermediary service providers” in the DSIA proposal are quite obscure (see DSIA proposal, Article 4). Therefore, to what extent can the DSIA proposal cover remains unclear.

(2) The DSIA proposal might harm the Freedom of Speech:

  Since the comments from the public might be strictly ‘‘censored’’ or even ‘‘banned’’, some might feel awkward and tend not to make speech on online platforms anymore. This might harm the Freedom of Speech, which is a constitutional right

(3) The administrative fine might compel some platforms to shut down, which might have adverse effects to Taiwan:

  Some non-commercial online platforms, such as the Professional Technology Temple (PTT) bulletin board system, mentioned that some non-profit platforms with very few resources might not have enough competency to fulfill those obligations. The administrative fines which they might face would compel service providers to shut down the platforms. The more shut-down platforms, the less the opinions in Taiwan could be heard.


  Due to the disputes mentioned above, Premier Su Tseng-Chang announced that the DSIA proposal is temporarily suspended. NCC thus postponed the public hearing on 25th Aug. and started reconsider the DSIA proposal.


1.The General Information of the draft Digital Services Intermediary Act, The National Communications Commission, R.O.C., available at: https://www.ncc.gov.tw/chinese/files/22062/5532_220629_1.pdf (last visited Sep. 13, 2022).
2.Press release from NCC: Prudent Adjustments to be Considered After Gathering the Public Opinions about the Draft Digital Services Intermediary Act, The National Communications Commission, R.O.C., available at: https://www.ncc.gov.tw/chinese/news_detail.aspx?site_content_sn=8&is_history=0&pages=0&sn_f=47907(last visited Sep. 13, 2022).

Taiwan establishes the Ministry of Digital Affairs and aims for Digital Resilience

  The post pandemic world is highly digitalized, as this pandemic has facilitated rapid technology development and has driven global digital transformation. Taiwan is a digitally competitive country, and therefore, the Tsai administration seeks to establish a new ministry responsible for digital affairs.

  On 27 August 2022, the Ministry of Digital Affairs (‘MODA’) is established. Its minister is Minister Audrey Tang. Initially, the Taiwanese government took a sectoral approach in governing digital affairs. The Tsai administration observes that there is a need to establish an independent body. Relevant digital work are transferred from different government bodies to the MODA, including in the areas of communications, information, cyber security, and internet and communications.

  The Tsai administration visions Taiwan as a digital country, a smart community. The establishment of the MODA realizes this vision. The MODA drives digital innovation, transformation and policy reform, ultimately building strong digital resilience.

  The MODA is a statutory body established under the Organization Act of the Ministry of Digital Affairs, which took effect on 19 January 2022. The Executive Yuan directly supervises the MODA. MODA has one Minister, three Deputy Ministers, one Secretary General, twelve implementation and supporting units and will soon establish an administrative body, the National Institute for Cyber Security.

  The MODA is currently tasked to undertake the following goals:

(1) To draft and implement a national digitalization strategy which aligns with international standards. This strategy focuses on facilitating the development of digital technologies, fostering digital governance and forming digital policies.

(2) To strengthen Taiwan’s communications network by building more communications infrastructures, and making internet affordable and accessible to rural areas.

(3) To strengthen cyber security on a national scale and achieve high level cyber resilience. The MODA is responsible for supervising the implementation of relevant cyber security laws and establishing active cyber defense.

(4) To build a digital government. During the launching event, Minister Tang demonstrated using a mobile phone verification system to sign off her first government order, which was completed within seconds.

(5) To actively participate in international discussions related to digital democracy.

(6) To further develop the government’s open data strategies, on using and reusing anonymous data.

  The establishment of the MODA is a new milestone for the reform of digital laws and policies. The Science and Technology Law Institute assisted in the establishment of the MODA and continues to task itself with the duty and responsibilities as a watch dog for digital laws and policies, particularly in relation to the potential implementation and reform of current digital legislation such as the Cyber Security Management Act and Telecommunications Management Act.


1.Organization Act of the Ministry of Digital Affairs, https://law.moj.gov.tw/ENG/LawClass/LawAll.aspx?pcode=K0000199.