Mon, Jan 26, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Pundits weigh in ahead of nation’s energy meeting

By Tang Chia-lin  /  Staff reporter

Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) yesterday urged the government to push development of renewable energy sources to ensure national security.

Ahead of the National Energy Conference that opens in Taipei today, Wong said the government should establish award mechanisms to boost the proportion of renewable energy use to 15 percent.

Taiwan possesses advanced wind and solar power generation technologies, and is blessed with abundant geothermal power, which give it a competitive edge in developing alternative energy sources, Wong said.

Nuclear energy is cheap, since waste disposal is costly and the production process poses a threat to public safety, he said.

Wong said that Taiwan’s annual carbon dioxide emissions are about 11 tonnes per capita, nearly three times the global average. The only way to lower carbon emissions and reduce dependency on imported energy is to formulate energy conservation and carbon reduction policies, and develop renewable energy sources, he said.

Citing Ministry of Science and Technology statistics, Wang said that while the proportion of electricity supplies produced by alternative sources in China and Japan has surpassed 10 percent, Taiwan’s supply remained at 2.5 percent from 2006 through 2013.

“The government should actively provide incentives to industries with low energy consumption to drive the development of renewable energy technology, rather than waiting for the price of alternative energies to fall,” he said.

The ministry’s National Energy Program sets the generation capacity from renewable energy sources at 12 percent of the nation’s overall energy supply — or 6.5 million kilowatt-hours — but so far only 4 percent has been achieved, he said.

Program leader Lee Chih-kung (李世光) said that hydraulic energy is the most effective of Taiwan’s renewable energy sources, but it is unlikely that more dams will be built because the nation does not have enough water resources.

If Taiwan can develop geothermal energy from 2,500m to 3,000m below ground level, it will be able to boost its energy supply from renewable sources to about 7 percent, Lee said.

Taiwan Environmental Protection Union Secretary-General Chen Bing-heng (陳秉亨) said conservation should precede the development of “green” energy sources.

Data shows that energy consumption is concentrated in four areas: electricity consumption, industrial energy use, transportation and construction, Chen said.

“By reducing the amount of energy consumed in these four areas, Taiwan will be able reduce its energy use by 39 percent,” he said.

Green Citizen’s Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said energy conservation is the best option for ensuring low carbon emissions and ample energy supply.

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