‘Renewable energy will continue to see substantial progress’
Janice Lin of Tsar & Tsai discusses the future of renewables in Taiwan and the broader changes impact Taiwan’s legal market
As the only recognised project finance lawyer in Taiwan in IFLR Asia Best Lawyers 2020, what do you consider to be the greatest achievements of your career?
The greatest achievement of my career to date is being a prominent and leading lawyer in the field of M&A and project finance within Taiwan’s developing renewable energy market, with the focus on offshore windfarm projects over the recent years. I led energy teams at our firm that have assisted global developers, export credit agencies and international/domestic financial lenders in the development of the ground-breaking, first-of-their-kind Formosa 1 offshore wind farm projects in Taiwan.
Those junior lawyers that succeed and thrive up the ladder are those who treat the daily chores and errands seriously and diligently
Since Formosa 1, I have led the Tsar & Tsai energy team in its mandates on all the subsequent offshore wind projects, including Formosa 2, CFXD and wpd’s Yunlin Offshore Wind Farm, which is the biggest single project financing deal that has ever been accomplished in the Asia-Pacific region.
The efforts I made in my work and contributions across this field have been recognised by numerous international rankings and awards including: Leading Partner of Tsar & Tsai for Formosa 1 Offshore Wind Project Financing: Deals of the Year 2018, by Asian-MENA Counsel; IJGlobal Awards 2018 - APAC Offshore Wind Deal of the Year (Formosa 1); Leading partner of Tsar & Tsai for Yunlin Offshore Wind Power, awarded IJ Global Asia Pacific Offshore Wind Deal of the year 2019.
What advice would you give to lawyers in junior positions to encourage them to work towards success?
I would suggest having their upmost dedication to their work product, as demonstrated in the quality of work delivered. Enthusiasm is always a plus, and those junior lawyers that succeed and thrive up the ladder are those who treat the daily chores and errands seriously and diligently. This is not easy but its helps establish a lawyer’s credibility and reputation within the firm and in legal society as well.
What do you feel are the biggest obstacles for young and prospective lawyers in your country?
If a young lawyer has the ambition to become an internationally oriented lawyer who is well versed at handling cross-border legal matters, they will need a good mentor, which is not always easy to find. In addition, aspiring lawyers will need time to develop the skills to communicate and cooperate efficiently. This takes great patience and is sometimes too easily overlooked by young associates.
What does your firm do to nurture and promote talent? Do you think it compares well to others in your market in this area?
Our firm prides itself in encouraging young and promising lawyers to join and participate in international legal societies, organisations, events, forums and seminars, and even to serve leading positions and roles in such entities.
If you could introduce one policy across the entire legal profession what would it be?
One policy I would introduce would be to allow for flexible working styles, such as working-from-home arrangements, during the time of the pandemic, so as to create a safer and more considerate working environment for lawyers during this hard time, as well as to take a step closer towards creating the ideal work-life balance.
Are there any initiatives in the firm to help your clients deal with the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic?
We have helped our clients by providing more flexible payment terms. We have also collaborated with our clients to help them weather the storm by discussing budgets, as well as putting in place a more effective budget control mechanism to achieve the most cost-effective work results.
Given the current conditions in Taiwan, what would you consider to be the market outlook over the coming year?
The renewable energy sector will continue to see substantial progress and development, given the policy encouragement and focus of the incumbent government. Also, domestic M&A is expected to be even more widely used and engaged in view of current local market conditions.
What kind of work do you expect will keep you busy over the next 12 months?
I expect that renewal energy project financing deals will keep us very busy over the coming 12 months.
Are there any upcoming regulatory changes or initiatives that investors should be aware of?
Taiwan’s government recently introduced the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO), under the Renewable Energy Development Act (RED Act). Any user whose electricity consumption exceeds a certain threshold, is obliged to install, or provide space to install, renewable energy power generation facilities or storage facilities with a certain installed capacity. Alternatively, any such user is obliged to purchase a certain amount of electricity generated from renewable energy and acquire a renewable energy certificate, or pay monetary substitution to the authority for the purpose of the developing of renewable energy (Paragraph 3 of Article 12, RED Act).
One policy I would introduce would be to allow for flexible working styles
According to the draft Regulation of Requirements for Users Having Chartered Capacity Exceeding Certain Threshold to Install Renewable Energy Generation Facilities promulgated by the Bureau of Energy of Ministry of Economic Affairs (BOE/MOEA) on August 24 2020 (Draft Regulation), any user, whose chartered capacity on electricity consumption agreements exceeds 5000KW, will be subject to the RPO under Paragraph 3 of Article 12 of RED Act (Obliged Entity). Every Obliged Entity may meet its RPO target according to the requirements under this regulation.
The Draft Regulation is expected to be enacted from January 1 2021. We anticipate that these regulatory changes will increase and further liberalise the market trading of the renewable energy, and markets for the corporate power purchase agreements.
What do you feel is the biggest misconception others have about your market?
The biggest misconception is that foreign investors often think that there are still many regulatory limitations on foreign investments in Taiwan, such as that it is a must to form joint-venture with a local entity/person, or a must to have a local director or partner in the invested business. These are no longer true.
What is the one thing you think the IFLR’s international audience should know about how to successfully do business in your market?
With only a handful of industries that entirely ban foreign investments (such as manufacturing of military weapons, public bus services, radio broadcasting and broadcast TV), all of Taiwan’s business sectors are open, with minimum restrictions and conditions, to foreign (non-PRC) investors to take part in.