Government tries to fool public over power: group

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Mar 05, 2014 - Page 3

The government is trying to fool the public by claiming that power shortages would occur if the nation gives up nuclear power, the Green Citizen Action Alliance (GCAA) said yesterday, adding that recent data from a government energy report suggested otherwise.

The group said a new report by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Energy showed that even if all three operating nuclear power plants are decommissioned according to their retirement schedules and the fourth one remains unused, the nation would still not face power shortages.

The bureau’s latest “power demand zero-growth evaluation report” was quoted in an article published by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) yesterday as saying that if all government agencies take electricity-saving measures, the average annual power consumption growth rate can be reduced to about 1.41 percent from last year to 2030.

The same report said the nation’s average annual power consumption growth rate was 3.89 percent between 1996 and 2012.

GCAA secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said the estimated power consumption growth rates of the industrial, agricultural, transportation and other sectors are calculated by the related government agencies, and the government should not deny its own report.

The nation’s estimated annual power consumption growth rate of 1.41 percent is the average of the estimated growth rates gathered from various government agencies, Hung said.

He added that the industrial sector is capable of reducing its growth rate to 1.78 percent, with the help of technical assistance on energy saving by the Industrial Development Bureau, and by establishing alternative energy management systems.

The power consumption growth rate of 1.41 percent indicates that the nation can use practical energy-saving policies to avoid power shortages without having to rely on nuclear power, the group said.

“The Ministry of Economic Affairs actually already knows that we will not have electricity shortages, even if the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is not built, but it deliberately conceals this message from the public and continues to promote the ‘reduce carbon emission steadily’ plan, stressing nuclear power as a means to achieve it, to threaten the public,” Hung said.

“I think this is the disgusting part,” he added.

In response, the bureau said: “The group’s calculation of using the total power supply and subtracting the power supply of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to indicate that the new plant is unnecessary, is mistaken and irresponsible.”

The bureau said the conclusion of its report was made assuming that “compulsive” and “fullscale” measures are taken, which is in fact difficult to actualize, and a zero-growth power demand will still not be achieved by 2030.

The government can set regulations for instructing the public and business sectors to gradually change their lifestyles or adjust the industrial structure, but this takes time to do, the bureau said.