US Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman yesterday said the US and Taiwan faced a number of shared energy and climate challenges, including a heavy dependence on fossil fuels.
During a speech titled “Tackling Future Energy Challenges” at National Taiwan University, Poneman said bilateral trade approached US$62 billion last year, making Taiwan the US’ ninth-largest trading partner, adding that Taiwan is one of the US’ most important economic and security partners.
Poneman emphasized a future of “clean energy” and added that “promoting a clean energy economy in the US and Taiwan will help our companies and our people to seize the economic opportunity of the global clean energy market, and benefit from the jobs and industries that go with it.”
He said Taiwan’s two-fold strategy to create a green-energy economy was focused on increasing energy conservation and deploying more low-carbon energy resources, such as solar and wind power.
“Taiwan is, in fact, a global leader in both energy-efficient and clean renewable technologies,” Poneman said.
In addition, he said the US Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the Taiwanese EPA had conducted more than 160 joint research and collaboration projects.
However, if major new energy installations are not built over the next five to 10 years, the balance between supply and demand could fall to dangerous levels for Taiwan’s economy, he said.
He said that US President Barack Obama has made it clear that “the US continues to believe that nuclear power has an important role to play as part of a diverse low-carbon energy portfolio.”
A member of the audience asked whether clean and safe nuclear power was possible in Taiwan, as nuclear plants in the north are close to Taipei, which has a population density of 5,000 people per square kilometer.
“I would not presume to dictate to Taiwan what it should do in its energy future. I think it’s entirely for the people here to decide,” Poneman said.