Wed, May 07, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Academia Sinica president pushes for solar energy

Staff writer, with CNA

Among renewable energy sources, solar power has seen the most significant technological advances and should be encouraged by the government, Academia Sinica president Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) told a legislative committee on Monday.

At a time when the nation is stuck debating the future of nuclear power, other countries are aggressively developing renewable energy, Wong said in a report to the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee.

Germany and Japan have set goals of generating 80 percent and 30 percent respectively of their power from renewable sources by 2025, while Taiwan lags behind, currently generating only 4 percent of its power from renewable energy sources, Wong said.

However, before a consensus on the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) is reached, Wong said Taiwan cannot afford to go without nuclear power without having other alternatives available.

Taiwan relies on fossil fuels for about 77 percent of its power generation, while nuclear power accounts for about 19 percent, he said.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Woody Duh (杜紫軍) said in an interview that renewable energy technologies were constantly progressing, with advances in the conversion efficiency of solar power a case in point, with costs falling.

Yet covering the nation with solar panels now would be premature, because the technology could easily become outdated and more expensive than it needs to be, Duh said.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs offers incentives to promote renewable energy, but it should first test the reliability of any new technology before investing heavily in it, Duh said, citing four offshore wind turbines that are to be tested by the end of next year for their typhoon resistance.

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