There are no plans for an electricity rate hike even though the nation is transitioning to renewable energy, the Cabinet said yesterday as Premier William Lai (賴清德) inspected a new solar power system in Kinmen County.
There are no plans for a rate hike because the cost of renewable energy will drop dramatically with technological advances, Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.
The new solar power system in Kinmen is 50 percent more efficient than the one installed eight years ago and had a lower construction cost, Hsu said.
Renewable power plants have no fuel costs; the only costs are construction, operation and maintenance expenses, which are more affordable than the operational and maintenance costs of a traditional power plant, Hsu said.
While the availability of land is an issue for solar power plants, offshore wind farms can boost the nation’s “green” energy ratio, he said.
The local wind energy sector is estimated to attract up to NT$1.5 trillion (US$49.6 billion) in investment and major international wind farm developers have come to Taiwan seeking to harvest wind power in the Taiwan Strait, Hsu said.
The experiences of wind power development in Taiwan could be applied to Kinmen, he added.
Kinmen is a Cabinet-designated “low-carbon island” where efforts will be made to power the county with solar and wind energy, Lai said.
“It is not a slogan, but a program to be accomplished,” he added.
The county government has built small solar power systems across the island, and the Cabinet is to launch a program to encourage households to install rooftop solar panels to alleviate power shortages and attain the goal of phasing out nuclear power by 2025.
Kinmen should be among the first areas where an extensive solar network is constructed, Lai said.
In response to Vice President Chen Chien-jen’s (陳建仁) remark that it is possible to phase out coal power by 2050, Hsu said that Chen referred to a German estimate that could not be applied to Taiwan.
Germany’s renewable energy development is far ahead of Taiwan’s, Hsu added.
He reiterated the government’s goal of raising the share of green energy to 20 percent of the total while reducing the share of coal to 30 percent, with natural gas making up the remaining 50 percent.
The nation would use low-sulfur coal and commission ultra-supercritical power generators to reduce air pollution, Hsu added.
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