Fri, Apr 17, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Energy prices to revert to global pricing system

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

A consensus was reached at the National Energy Conference yesterday to allow energy prices to revert back to the global market mechanism and reflect true purchase costs.

The agreement is expected to raise domestic energy prices and is intended to encourage the public, companies and the government to focus on alternative sources of energy, carbon dioxide emission cuts and energy conservation.

With electricity, oil and natural gas markets can focus on operating profitability rather than selling energy below cost at the request of government, forcing them to absorb substantial losses.

The energy conference also encouraged energy companies to focus on restricting carbon dioxide emissions through the use of energy processing technologies on purchased energy and to pass on the extra costs to consumers.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Wednesday said legislators should merge eight versions of a bill on renewable energy as soon as possible and pass the negotiated version by the end of this session.

CRITICS

However, opposition flared as nuclear power took center stage at the conference.

Environmental groups accused the government of manipulating the conference to promote nuclear power rather than actually encourage environmental sustainability.

Lee Ken-cheng (李根政), founder of Mercy on the Earth (地球公民協會), told reporters yesterday that the conference was used to endorse nuclear power as the only option to reduce carbon emissions, while dismissing every alternative.

“From 1990 through 2008, the nation’s carbon dioxide emission increased 130 percent, with three National Energy Conferences held during that period. What impact did these conferences have?” Lee asked.

Although 200 members from different environmental groups were allowed to attend, they were not allowed to speak, while people living close to nuclear plants were not allowed in, Lee said.

Only 5 percent of the energy generated by nuclear plants is transformed into power, while the rest becomes waste material, Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), Nobel laureate and former president of Academia Sinica, said yesterday.

Taiwan only produces 1 percent of its energy, while the rest is imported from various countries. Developing domestic means to generate alternative energy is of utter importance, Lee said.

Homemakers Union and Foundation (主婦聯盟環境保護基金會) president Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) accused the government of lacking resolve in creating a low carbon society.

Nuclear power is an existing option to help Taiwan cut carbon emissions because the country has three atomic stations in operations, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said at the end of the conference.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY BLOOMBERG

Also See: EDITORIAL: Time to tap into renewable energy

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