Thu, Mar 15, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Groups rally in Taipei over proposed coal-fire plant

FOR AND AGAINST:Those opposed to the building of the plant want further research into environmental impacts, while those in support say it is safer than natural gas power

By Yang Mien-chieh and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

People in support and people opposed to plans for a new Shenao coal-fired power plant in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District yesterday hold banners outside the Environmental Protection Administration in Taipei.

Photo: Yang Mien-chieh, Taipei Times

Environmental groups and local residents rallied in front of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) building in Taipei yesterday afternoon to protest an imminent review of a project to establish a new Shenao coal-fired power plant in New Taipei City.

The old power plant was decommissioned and torn down in 2007 due to its environmental impact on Fanzaiao Bay (番仔澳灣) and fishermen in the region.

Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) last year suggested reestablishing the plant to satisfy electricity demands in northern Taiwan, with plans to install a 600,000 kilowatt coal-fired ultra-supercritical pressure boiler in Shenao Bay (深澳灣).

Reviewed three times since its proposal, the ultimate decision of whether to send back Taipower’s environmental impact statements due to changes made after the assessment, or approve the plant after modifications, was returned to the EPA’s environmental assessment committee, which started another review yesterday.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀), who was one of the leaders of the protest, called for the EPA to send back the analysis, hold more public hearings so people could be informed about potential air pollution zones and the radius of impact in different seasons.

“There is no reason why the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] government would want to build a new coal-fired power plant when the global consensus is for phasing out such plants,” Lee said.

KMT Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福) said he could support the DPP’s plans to phase out nuclear power, but the lack of adequate power supplies due to loopholes in ancillary measures for such policies should not render the administration a lackey of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

If the committee rushes the review, Lee said he would not rule out spearheading an event so residents of Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung could protest.

If built, the new plant would affect air quality nationwide, not just in New Taipei City, Taipei and Keelung, KMT Legislator Chen Yi-min (陳宜民) said.

However, supporters of the project said that natural gas power generation was more dangerous than coal-fired power generation, adding that a new power plant would help boost and develop the local economy.

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