Denmark is the wind power kingdom of the world. Its wind power industry is the world’s biggest, and wind turbines are one of Denmark’s major exports, accounting for half the global market. The wind energy industry has propelled Denmark’s economic development and created many job opportunities. Wind power now accounts for 24 percent of Denmark’s total electricity generation. That figure is forecast to reach 50 percent by the year 2020, and by 2050 Denmark may get all its electricity from wind power and abandon oil as a fuel.
Taiwan’s topography, like that of Denmark, is one of land adjoining the sea. In the daytime, the seawater is cooler than the land, and this temperature difference tends to generate sea breezes. At nighttime, the land cools faster than the sea, resulting in land breezes. These are good conditions for developing wind energy. Although Taiwan is a major manufacturing base for solar panels, its governments have shown a preference for nuclear power. Consequently, Taiwanese solar panels are made mainly for export, and sales in Taiwan have been unimpressive.
In Denmark, there is cooperation between parties, and boycotts are rare. These traditions have made Danes confident about the political process, as well as ensuring that it functions effectively. In contrast, Taiwan’s legislature looks more like a theater or a battlefield. The selfish interests of political parties always take pride of place, and endless infighting gives the public a sense of helplessness and despair.
As debate continues about stopping construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant on the one hand, and worries about power shortages on the other, what we need is rational consideration of policies for developing alternative sources of energy. Green power should be the foremost among these alternatives. The government should provide incentives for research and development of high-efficiency wind turbines and solar cells, so that we can develop our green energy industry and tread a smooth path to modernity.
Chien Hsi-chieh is executive director of the Peacetime Foundation of Taiwan.
Translated by Julian Clegg