A forum organized by the Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI, 全國工業總會) yesterday urged the government to seek the best mixture of energy sources for the country and recalculate prices to benefit industrial development.
With the nation 99 percent reliant on imports to feed its energy needs, the government should hire an international auditing firm to re-evaluate and calculate the best energy supply mix and rates for the country, said Mark Lin (林明儒), convener of CNFI’s environmental protection and labor safety committee.
CNFI chairman Rock Hsu (許勝雄) said he would like to see nuclear energy stay because it is low-cost, provides stable energy and does not emit carbon dioxide.
National Taipei University professor Wang To-far (王塗發) disagreed.
“Generating electricity via nuclear power might appear to cost less, but it is actually higher if you count in the cost of building nuclear power plants and of disposing nuclear waste,” he said.
Wang said developing renewable energy, such as solar and wind energy, is more cost-effective in the long run and can improve the country’s industrial structure and create more jobs.
Citing the under construction Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), as an example, Wang said that the plant had been a big burden for the loss-making state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電).
He also raised concern about nuclear energy safety, citing the recent incident at the Second Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里), during which some broken bolts were found.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) said Taiwan should learn from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan.
Taiwan could not withstand a nuclear disaster of that scale, she said, urging the government to turn to renewable energy resources and help develop the nation’s green energy industry.
National Taiwan University of Science and Technology professor Young Ku (顧洋) talked about the regulatory restrictions that are hindering renewable energy development in Taiwan and urged the administration to coordinate or integrate government agencies’ functions and amend regulations to make it easier.
Taipower chairman Hwang Jung-chiou (黃重球) said the company’s goal is to reduce the nation’s reliance on nuclear energy from the current 19 percent to 7 percent in 2025, and increase contributions from renewable energy sources from the current single digit to 16 percent in 2030.
However, before renewable energy comes into place, fossil fuels will still be the main source of power generation, he said.
The need for Taipower to reform was also discussed.
“Taipower cannot lose money year after year, so I agree with the upward adjustment of electricity rates, but the precondition is that Taipower has to reform,” General Chamber of Commerce (全國商業會總會) chairman Lawrence Chang (張平沼) said.
CNFI honorary chairman Earle Ho (侯貞雄) said that to completely resolve Taipower’s financial problems, the company should let private companies take over the power-generation business, while retaining control over power transmission and distribution.
Atomic Energy Council Minister Tsai Chuen-horng (蔡春鴻) said the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant has been problematic from the start, especially from 2005 when it began to rush work to keep up with the schedule.