Sat, Oct 26, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Nuclear energy not the only option

By Gloria Hsu 徐光蓉

The government is obsessed with nuclear power and envious of Germany, which is successfully working toward eliminating nuclear power and developing renewable energy sources.

The Ma administration is spreading erroneous information, saying that although Germany is scrapping nuclear energy, it still purchases nuclear power from France and that the renewable energy sources Germany is so busy promoting have caused huge hikes in electricity prices.

However, over the past years, Europe has experienced extremely cold winters and, if France did not receive energy support from Germany, it would have almost run out of power.

Apart from the cost, electricity prices in Germany also include an electricity tax, value-added tax and other charges to cover the cost of encouraging the use of co-generation — otherwise known as combined useful heat and power — and royalties. Germany collects an equivalent of NT$0.4 to NT$0.6 per watt of electricity on the charges to cover the costs involved in encouraging the use of co-generation. This extra income has already helped cover more than 20 percent of the costs for power generation from renewable energy sources.

However, if we look at Taiwan from 2008 until now, the average electricity price has increased more than in Germany and the use of renewable energy sources has remained almost zero.

Although prices in Germany are going up, positive things are happening, whereas in Taiwan the government is still just trying to fill a black hole.

In June, while on an inspection tour of nuclear facilities, Ma said that nuclear power should be the nation’s main priority and that renewable energy is laughable.

These remarks, which blatantly overlook the importance of renewable energy, also ignore the changes happening internationally.

Ma insists on doing things his way and his way only. He is also a master of self-deception and cutting himself off from reality, and he is prone to mocking those who are seriously trying to implement the use of renewable energy. If such behavior is not laughable, then what is?

Gloria Hsu is a professor in National Taiwan University’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

Translated by Drew Cameron

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