Fri, Aug 11, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Power Showdown: KMT lawmaker challenges premier on vow to meet power demand in two years

By Chang Hung-ta and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A wind turbine is pictured in Pingtung County’s Hengchun Township in an undated photograph.

Photo: Tsai Tsung-hsien, Taipei Times

Questioning Premier Lin Chuan’s (林全) pledge to meet the nation’s power demands in two years, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) yesterday said that Lin would not even be the premier two years from now.

In an interview published on Wednesday by the Chinese-

language Economic Daily News, Lin told the state-owned Taiwan Power Co to “just give up” on nuclear power.

The country “just needs to tough it out for the next two years” before new power plants go online to ease the situation, Lin said in the interview.

Offshore wind turbines are expected to generate 4 gigawatts in seven years, Lin said.

The nation was on the brink of power rationing following the collapse of a transmission tower in Yilan County late last month due to Typhoon Nesat, showing the fragility of the nation’s power supply plans, Ko said.

“Are we betting that there will not be another typhoon?” Ko asked.

Moreover, not only has this summer been unseasonably hot, but power shortages had also occurred during winter, she said.

“It is easy for Lin to say we are going to tough it out. Can he be more specific on how we are going to do that? If we are not able to tough it out, what would be the repercussions? Does the government have any backup plan?” Ko asked.

Lin has said the offshore wind farms would be able to generate 3.5GW by 2025 to replace two nuclear power plants, Ko said.

That is higher than the Bureau of Energy’s earlier estimate of 3GW, which experts have said would be difficult to achieve, Ko said.

Renewable energy sources do not provide stable power supply and could be sporadic through the seasons, making them a poor direct substitute for nuclear or coal-fired power plants, she said.

Offshore wind farms face other factors and uncertainties, such as maritime engineering, environmental impact, the fishing industry, typhoons and earthquakes, harbors and maritime navigation, she said.

Taiwan also lacks the required core technologies and its reliance on non-Chinese contractors — a requirement imposed due to political considerations — has further driven up costs, Ko said.

Lin should be transparent about how much money the public will have to shell out to complete the wind power program, she said.

“If Lin wants to play hardball, he should sign a guarantee that there will be no power shortages after we tough it out in the next two years. Two years from now, Lin will not even be the premier. Where will we find the person responsible for this?” she asked.

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