An alliance of non-governmental organizations yesterday said it would start monitoring a NT$3 billion (US$95.8 million) energy conservation project implemented by the Executive Yuan in March.
Green Citizen Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) told a news conference in Taipei that he and his fellow environmental campaigners would start visiting local governments across the nation to learn what measures they have taken to cut electricity use.
The Executive Yuan project aims to fund conservation efforts undertaken by local governments.
Local government efforts are to be evaluated based on whether a panel comprising environmental campaigners and experts from the public are introduced; whether bylaws to facilitate conservation efforts are formulated; whether local governments have identified the areas where the most electricity is consumed; and how many resources the governments allocate to achieve energy efficiency, Hung said.
Local governments that cap power consumption until the end of September and consider the energy needs of disadvantaged residents would receive “bonus points,” he said.
Energy conservation plans proposed by local governments are mostly half-formed and lack strategies to boost civic participation, he said.
Citing a similar project initiated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government in South Korea in which the municipal government issued subsidies to residents who installed solar panels on their roofs and reportedly saved an amount of energy equivalent to the installed capacity of a nuclear power plant, he said that public engagement would play a pivotal role if the Executive Yuan project is to yield any satisfying result, and called on central and local governments to introduce policies to streamline public efforts.
A project that commands such a large sum should be sustainable, and establishing city bylaws would create a legally binding and well-defined course of action, he said.
Publishing white papers on local government energy policies and founding governing bodies to monitor conservation progress could be included in such bylaws, he added.
The state-run Taiwan Power Co should improve its insufficient data and dutifully publish information regarding the nation’s power consumption by identifying the industries that use the most energy, he said.
Yang Shun-mei (楊順美), secretary-general of antinuclear group Mom Loves Taiwan, said that the only government effort to promote the energy consumption project she has seen so far is a poster in a community laundry shop.
She said that the government announces similar projects every year, but this is the first time that a project has been given such a large amount of money and that it must not be limited to chanting slogans.
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