The government has yet to present a viable road map toward its goal of cutting electricity generated by coal-fired plants from 45.4 percent of national production last year to 30 percent by 2025, Greenpeace Taiwan said yesterday.
The organization held a news conference in Taipei to promote its new report on the destructiveness of global and domestic consumption of coal-fired power.
Coal-fired power is highly destructive, as it causes air pollution, including vast amount of carbon dioxide emissions, and depletes water and coal resources, Greenpeace Taiwan campaigner Lisa Tsai (蔡佩芸) said.
Taiwan’s carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion reached a record 25,817 tonnes last year, she said.
About 45.4 percent of the nation’s electricity last year was generated by coal-fired boilers, and the figure will increase to 50 percent in 2020, given the government plan to build more coal-fired plants, she said.
Most of the nation’s coal-powered energy is generated by Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower) Taichung Linkou (林口) and Singda (興達) plants, she said.
The government is building a new generator at the Linkou plant in New Taipei City and two at the Dalin (大林) Power Plant in Kaohsiung, while two more are being planned for the Shenao Power Plant in New Taipei City, she said.
The Shenao (深澳) plant additions were the topic of a meeting of the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) Environmental Impact Assessment Review Committee on Sept. 20.
Many Shenao Village residents who used to object to the plan attended the meeting to support it.
They told the committee that they preferred coal-fired to gas-fired power because the use of natural gas might lead to an explosion.
The committee eventually decided to ask Taipower to submit more analyses about the project’s impact on air quality and the surrounding environment by Dec. 31.
A coal-fired generator produces between 805 and 1,060 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour (kWh), while a gas-fired one produces about 469 grams of carbon dioxide per kWh, Greenpeace’s report said.
Renewable sources produce even less carbon pollution, as a wind power facility emits 12 grams of carbon dioxide per kWh, the report said.
The government’s pledge to fight air pollution is incompatible with its plan to increase coal-fire-generated power to 50 percent by 2020 and then reduce it to 30 percent by 2025, Tsai said.
Greenpeace Taiwan called on the government to present a concrete road map for reducing coal-fired energy.
It also urged it to release the data on all coal-fired power plants in the nation, including those of independent power producers; and to establish the maximum capacity for each coal-powered generator.
In related developments, the EPA and Taipower have reached an agreement to curtail coal-fired power generation when the air quality is about to worsen, EPA Department of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control Director-General Tsai Hung-teh (蔡鴻德) said.
Starting from this month, the EPA is to notify the utility to curb coal-fired plant operations under two conditions: when the EPA’s air quality index (AQI) forecasts unhealthy air (red level) for the next day or when one-third of a region’s air monitoring stations reach the red level, he said.
While the EPA advises on when and where to implement the measure, it is up to Taipower to decide on the exact amount of capacity reduction, he said.
Given that many air monitoring stations in the center and south of the nation have reached the red level yesterday, Taipower cut 730 megawatts of generation at its Taichung plant from 3am to 6am and 610 megawatts from the Singda plant from 1am to 7am, he added.
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