The government should stop planning coal-fired facilities at the Shenao Power Plant and instead consider a geothermal energy plant, environmentalist Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎) told an annual meeting of Taiwanese non-governmental organizations (NGOs) yesterday.
This year’s meeting, the 15th of its kind, was titled “Sustainable Taiwan, Civil Actions” and co-organized by the Life Conservationist Association, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union and other environmental NGOs.
Many discussion topics at the meeting revolved around the nation’s energy policy, especially the planned coal-fired Shenao plant organized by state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳).
The construction project has sparked much criticism since March 14, when it passed an Environmental Protection Administration environmental impact assessment amid opposition by the New Taipei City Government and civic groups.
The Shenao plant must be built to meet the north’s electricity demand, 4 percent of which is now transmitted from power plants in the central and southern regions, Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) said in a radio interview on Friday.
Kao, who was one of two people to be granted a lifetime achievement award at this year’s meeting, yesterday urged the government to replace the two coal-fired generators planned at the Shenao plant with geothermal facilities in a bid to avoid more air pollution and carbon emissions from coal combustion.
The plant’s planned location is only about 7km from the volcanic Keelung Islet (基隆嶼) and is thus well-situated to host a geothermal plant, he said.
Taipower has been working to increase and diversify the power supply, but it has put little effort toward improving its management of power demand, said former national policy adviser Rex How (郝明義), who delivered a keynote address at the meeting.
The utility has promised to install “smart” electricity meters in 200,000 households by the end of this year, but by the end of last year had only installed such devices in 10,351 households, How said, adding that a total of 1.3 million households still need to be fitted with the meters.
More power plants would be built if the utility does not advance its management of power demand, How added.
The other recipient of the life achievement award was Wen Hai-chen (文海珍), president of the Tsaoshan Ecology, Culture and History Alliance, who was honored for her efforts since 2001 to protect land in Taipei’s Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園) against an urban redevelopment project.
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