CPC Corp, Taiwan’s (CPC, 台灣中油) development of a new liquefied gas terminal should not be affected by the government’s plans to abandon nuclear energy by 2025, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Deputy Minister Chan Shun-kuei (詹順貴) said at a forum in Taipei yesterday.
Under the policy, the government hopes to phase out the nation’s three operational nuclear power plants and generate 50 percent of the nation’s electricity from natural gas, 30 percent from coal and 20 percent from renewable sources by 2025.
State-run utility CPC plans to build its third liquefied gas terminal on yet-to-be reclaimed land off the coast of Datan Borough (大潭) in Taoyuan’s Guantang Industrial Park, but biologists have said the project would damage protected coral species Polycyathus chaishanensis in the area, as well as a wide stretch of algal reef.
While CPC has said many times that delaying development of the terminal would impede plans to go nuclear-free, Chan said the government should instead consider adjusting the ratio of energy sources to accommodate the shutdown of the nuclear plants.
The government could reduce the planned ratio of natural gas to 32.4 percent, reduce renewables, oil-fired plants and other sources of electricity to 10.2 percent, and increase coal-fired power to 45.4 percent, while maintaining power generated from nuclear energy at 12 percent, Chan said.
The ratio adjustment was his personal suggestion, not a conclusion reached after a discussion with the Executive Yuan, Chan said in response to questions.
The EPA has received CPC’s new strategy for minimizing the project’s ecological impact and is to convene a review meeting on Oct. 26, he said.
The critical issue for the EPA’s review committee is whether transplanting individual species without affecting the entire ecosystem is technically feasible and how the company could verify that, Chan said.
The Port of Taipei in New Taipei City’s Bali District (八里) is the best location for the terminal, National Chung Hsing University environmental engineering professor Tsuang Ben-jei (莊秉潔) said, adding that “those who do not choose it are idiots.”
The wind speed in Datan often surpasses 12 meters per second, meaning that there are only about 249 days per year during which liquefied natural gas tankers can safely enter the port, Tsuang said.
Wind speeds at the Port of Taipei are lower, allowing entry 334 days per year, Tsuang said.
Also speaking at the forum, CPC vice president J.Z. Fang (方振仁) admitted that weather conditions are worse at the industrial park than at the Port of Taipei.
However, if the terminal is to be built at the Port of Taipei, the company would have to reclaim land from the sea and complete a new environmental impact assessment, Fang said, adding that such a terminal would begin to supply gas in 2028 instead of 2022.
“Although there is no algal reef issue at the Port of Taipei, local residents [in Bali] are opposed to the terminal project,” he said.
With Datan as its priority location, the company plans to transplant the algal reef on Datan’s coast to the Guansin (觀新) reefs ecological conservation area to the south, he said, adding that CPC would continue to evaluate the feasibility of transplanting the endangered coral.
The forum, which aimed to find a “win-win solution” to the issue, was jointly organized by the Academia Sinica Biodiversity Research Center, Taoyuan Local Union, Environmental Jurists Association, Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union and Taipei Bar Association at the Chinese Culture University in Taipei and was attended by about 20 speakers and 100 people.
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