Facing questions from city councilors about a promised NT$5 billion (US$166.6 million) budget to establish Greater Taichung as a low-carbon demonstration city, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏) yesterday said the budget would be allocated over a number of years, rather than all at once.
At an event to announce the initiation of an “energy saving and carbon reduction ‘angel group’ project” in Greater Taichung yesterday, Shen said a large amount of money could be saved through energy conservation, because 99 percent of the energy used in Taiwan is imported with about NT$1.2 trillion a year, or 10 percent of Taiwan’s GDP, spent on purchasing energy from overseas.
The EPA said that the angel group project, which incorporates 925 members, would conduct examinations at the four elected low-carbon demonstration areas — Yilan County, Taoyuan County, Greater Taichung and Greater Tainan — to check whether the electrical appliances used in apartments, department stores, schools and government facilities were energy-saving models.
The examinations will include checking whether air conditioners adequately control indoor temperatures without leaking cool air outdoors, while also checking on energy-saving behavior, such as turning off lights or unplugging appliances from sockets, the EPA said.
According to a Central News Agency report, Shen also responded to Greater Taichung Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) city councilors, who visited President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) earlier this month to ask about a promised NT$5 billion central government budget, by telling them that the budget would not be allocated all at once.
Greater Taichung will lead central Taiwan counties as a low-carbon city, Shen said, adding that the establishment of low-carbon cities was a long-term goal and this year serves primarily as the planning process.
Cross-ministerial efforts are needed to create a low-carbon country, so it is not something the EPA can do in isolation, Shen said, adding that the budget would not only come from central and local governments, but may also make use of control fees imposed for air pollution or through the imposition of an energy tax.