Environmental protection groups and legislators yesterday urged the government not to spend the more than NT$20 billion (US$680 million) it would cost to build a submarine cable between Yunlin County and Penghu County, which they say would likely cause the price of electricity to go up, harm public health with electromagnetic radiation and also negatively affect the marine environment.
The Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association (TEPCA) said it was inconsistent that Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) had to increase electricity prices in recent months due to financial problems, but now plans to spend more than NT$20 billion to construct a 66.32km long submarine cable.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) said there are two non-state-owned power plants in Chuanghua County that can already provide enough electricity for the area, so it is not necessary for extra electricity to be generated in Penghu and transmitted back to Taiwan.
“I think one of the reasons the submarine cable is being built may be to benefit the privately owned power plants,” TEPCA founder and chairperson Chen Jiao-hua (陳椒華) said, “because the price of electricity bought from non-state owned power plants is about NT$1 more expensive for every kilowatt-hour. And the cost is taken from us — the taxpayers.”
TEPCA said that in addition to the alleged profiteering by non-state-owned plants, the cable would cut through the habitat of the rare Chinese white dolphin, and its lines would be buried underneath Yunlin County’s Kouhu Township (口湖) and thus could expose residents to high levels of electromagnetic radiation.
The groups urged the government and Taipower to re-evaluate the construction plan and bury the cable at least 6m deep to avoid high levels of electromagnetic radiation from being emitted.