Wed, Nov 01, 2017 - Page 3 News List

People willing to pay to mitigate climate change

SERIOUS PROBLEM:Some of the respondents said they are willing to pay up to NT$3.2 per kWh if they have the right to choose from different energy sources

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A poll published yesterday by the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research (INER) showed that 79.4 percent of respondents are willing to pay more for electricity if it helps reduce the effects of climate change.

The poll found that 41.7 percent of respondents are concerned about the stability of the electricity supply, an increase of 14.9 percent from last year, while fewer people — 21.2 percent less than last year — are concerned about environmental issues, INER Assistant Research and Development Engineer Hu Wei-yuan (胡瑋元) told a news conference in Taipei.

As the survey was conducted from Aug. 1 to Aug. 17, the survey takers’ responses might have been affected by the nationwide power outage on Aug. 15, he added.

Despite worries about power supply, more respondents expressed support for renewable and nuclear energy this year than in 2015, while support for coal-fired and gas-fired power is diminishing, he said.

The survey found that 54.5 percent of respondents considered climate change caused by global warming to be a very serious problem, followed by air pollution produced by combustion of fossil fuels, the disposal of nuclear waste, the effects of power outage or rationing, and the security of nuclear power plants.

While the state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) charged NT$2.79 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) on average last year, people are willing to pay up to NT$3.2 per kWh if they are given complete information about different energy sources and the right to choose from among them, Hu said.

Among those unwilling to pay higher fees, more people said big industrial consumers should cover higher costs, followed by those who said they would not be able to afford it and those who tend to use nuclear energy that is more cost-efficient, MIC Senior Industry Analyst Chiang Han-i (姜漢儀) said.

In terms of nuclear power security, 28.6 percent of people believe the government is competent to deal with any possible nuclear power disaster and 32.8 percent believe the nation can efficiently dispose of nuclear waste.

The poll also found most people do not understand the nation’s energy structure, as 40.8 percent of respondents assumed the nation generates most electricity from nuclear power when it actually accounts for only 14 percent of electricity generated last year.

The results show that increasing electricity fees is not necessarily an untouchable subject for politicians, INER director Ko Fu-kuang (葛復光) said.

The government’s energy policy only looks to 2025, and has not clarified how it would fulfill its promise to cut greenhouse emissions to 50 percent of 2005 levels by 2050, and to 30 percent by 2030, he said.

The eight-year period from today until 2025 is short for energy transformation and the government should set up more long-term goals, he added.

The survey was conducted through online questionnaires and collected 1,200 samples from people aged between 20 and 59 years old who know about their electricity fees.

It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.83 percentage points.

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