Fri, Jun 09, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Taiwan rich in energy potential


Taiwan has more potential than Europe for developing renewable energy, given its unlimited solar and wind resources, a German environmentalist said yesterday.

In a speech at the Taipei-based China Electric Manufacturing Corp (中國電器), Franz Alt, a journalist and author, said the energy question has become the key question of modern developed and developing countries. Environmental disasters are becoming more common, and 70 percent of all environmental problems are energy problems, he said.

EU authorities have estimated that all traditional energies, including fossil energy, will be in short supply globally by 2050, Alt said.

He said the change to solar energy can and must take place within the next 50 years.

"Only then will we have an escape route from the greenhouse effect," he said.

The only path for Europe to a clean energy economy was to cut consumption of crude oil by about 60 percent while developing and using renewable energy, he said.

Alt said that not only should Europe strive to develop renewable energies, but so should Asian countries like China and India, where the desire for a quality of life like that enjoyed in industrially advanced countries was demanding greater consumption of energy.

Alt recalled that during a visit with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in Taipei in 2001, he told the president that Europe was expected to transform its economy to a renewable energy economy, using mainly solar energy, by 2050. Chen responded by saying that Taiwan can accomplish such a transformation by 2030, thanks to the nation's rich resources of hotsprings and geothermal heat, he said.

Alt agreed with Chen's assertion, given Taiwan's ample resources of sunlight and wind power, which he said were more plentiful than those available in Europe.

The environmentalist, however, said that Taiwan had much to do to catch up, since an essential and much-talked-about renewable energy law had yet to be legislated.

Alt said that the amount of fossil energy that humans consume in one day took "500,000 days to nurture."

In addition, he said, the sun provides the Earth with energy that is 15,000 times the daily energy required by the world's population.

In Germany, he said, nearly 1 million households and some 700 churches use electricity generated by solar energy. Generating electricity with wind power, Germany has cut CO2 production by 18 million tonnes.

Renewable energy has also created more than 1 million jobs across Germany, according to Alt.

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