Fri, Jun 10, 2016 - Page 8 News List

Taipower’s ‘power shortage’ myth

By Jay Fang 方儉

The government has been considering whether to reactivate the fallow No. 1 reactor at the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門), and has also been discussing a potential nationwide electricity shortage.

Taiwan has too many power plants, there is no electricity shortage, nor will there be come summer. It is all just a fabrication concocted by Taiwan Power Co (Taipower). If you leaf through the annual Bureau of Energy (BOE) report, you will discover that Taiwan’s power generation capacity far exceeds electricity usage. If you ask the wrong questions, how do you expect to arrive at the correct answers?

For four decades now, every time summer approaches, Taipower has come in with its dire predictions of the wolf at the door and, every year, the vast majority of Taiwanese fall for it. No matter what party is in government, nothing is done to call the warnings a lie.

On May 20, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was sworn in. Yes, we have a new government, but really it is just more of the same. Just when we thought the administration of previous president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had plummeted to the depths of ineptitude, along comes Tsai to prove the true depths remain unexplored. Not only is the new administration harping on about a supposed electricity shortage, it has also arbitrarily decided to mull reactivating a generator the Ma administration took out of operation 18 months ago.

Taipower is basically putting people’s lives at risk for financial interest. The reason it keeps claiming that Taiwan faces a potential electricity shortage is because it wants to secure government funding to build more plants, buy more fuel and employ more people. It has been singing this tune for 40 years.

The No. 1 reactor was mothballed a year-and-a-half ago, and in that intervening time period we have not been short of electricity. Putting the reactor back online is playing with the lives of about 23 million people. It is tantamount to an offense against public safety.

There is no shortage of electricity in Taiwan. According to the BOE report, Taiwan’s total installed capacity of electricity is over 48 gigawatts, the peak usage maxing out at more than 38 gigawatts. So where does the claim that we risk a shortage of electricity come from?

Taipower has no proactive measures in place to regulate power usage, so, during peak hours, electricity usage can go through the roof and, when it gets warm, there are a few seconds each day where electricity usage peaks. This gives the false impression that there is not enough, helping Taipower to persuade us of the need to build new plants.

Many people said that there would be a shortage of electricity if we did not build the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮). So it was built.

This Fourth Nuclear Power Plant has yet to produce a single watt of electricity, and not only have our electricity supplies not dried up or had to be rationed, the price of electricity has even been adjusted downward.

Taiwan is always looking down on China for not being as advanced. If you look at the economic growth China has experienced in the past 30 years, you will see that the country often has electricity shortages and has implemented electricity rationing on many occasions. This has not prevented China from achieving the impressive economic growth that it has.

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