Taiwan shows rich potential for development of renewable energy, Greenpeace International’s renewable energy director Sven Teske said in a speech at a public event in Taipei on Tuesday night.
Teske is a contributing writer to the UN’s recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on renewable energy from 2008 to 2011 and to the Greenpeace report Energy [R]evolution in 2005, which was chosen as one of the lead scenarios for the UN’s IPCC renewables report.
Teske was invited by civic groups Greenpeace Taiwan, Green Citizen Action Alliance, Citizen of the Earth Taiwan and Mom Loves Taiwan, to share his knowledge about renewable energy and development in Taiwan, in the context of global trends and competitiveness.
“We need an energy revolution to help us detach from the reliance on limited resources, reduce carbon dioxide emission and prevent the destructive disasters on Earth caused by global warming,” Teske said, adding that governments could improve national competitiveness if they develop renewable energy right now.
From 2007 to last year, new power plants generated by renewable energies — including solar, wind, hydro, biomass and other — accounted for about 43 percent of the total new plants built during the period, while coal-fired plants accounted for 38 percent, fossil-fuel and natural gas about 18 percent, and nuclear power about 1 percent, Teske said.
He predicted that electricity generated by renewable energy globally would reach about 37 percent by 2020 and 94 percent by 2050, becoming the main energy resource.
As technologies and skills advance, renewable energy electricity generation costs would decline and possibly reach about US$0.06 to US$0.12 per kilowatt-hour by 2050, which is lower than the average electricity generation cost in Taiwan now, while the cost of using traditional energy resources would only increase because resources are limited, he said.
Teske, a German, said both Taiwan and Germany lack domestic fossil fuels, so the only way to improve national competitiveness is through innovation, but not by continuing to rely on imported fossil fuels that are doomed to increase in cost as reserves drop.
Taiwan has offshore wind power like in China and Germany, but it has 30 to 50 percent more solar energy than Germany, he said.
The potential for developing these renewable energies in Taiwan are promising, and “the sun and wind won’t send you electricity bills,” he said.
Moreover, he estimated that 65 percent of the jobs in the energy industry in the future would come from renewable energy, while jobs in the nuclear power industry would only shrink.
“Many researches have shown that investing in nuclear power has a crowding-out effect on renewable energies,” he said.
“If governments continue to invest resources in nuclear power and neglect the development of renewable energy, it would be an irreversible mistake,” Teske said.