As the Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Corp has yet to secure approval from the Environmental Protection Administration for its new plant in Changhwa County, economics researchers yesterday urged the government to use the funds invested in the petrochemical industry for the green energy industry instead, arguing that the latter could generate more production and job opportunities.
Wang To-far (王塗發), an adjunct economics professor at National Taipei University, said that in its environmental impact assessment report, the company said construction of the plant — which was estimated to be completed in 16 years — would create a total output of NT$1.24 trillion (US$38 billion).
The company said that the construction would add NT$387.4 billion to the nation’s GDP, equivalent to 3.05 percent of last year’s GDP.
“However, if you break it down to the average of those 16 years, the total output would drop to NT$77.64 billion and the GDP contribution would be reduced to NT$24.21 billion. That only accounts for 0.19 percent of GDP in 2009,” Wang told a press conference yesterday hosted by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇).
The green energy industry, on the other hand, could give a strong boost to the nation’s industrial development, he said.
“If the Kuokuang project costs NT$500 billion and we invest the funds in green energy instead, it will create an additional output of at least NT$125 billion because it will simultaneously stimulate development of new electronics products,” Wang said.
Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) a professor at National Chung Hsing University’s Applied Economics Department, said that the external costs of Kuokuang’s project would be between NT$58.8 billion and NT$114 billion.
The plant could only generate economic benefits of about NT$51.6 billion, making it not worth the investment, Chen said.
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