Building a new Shenao Power Plant (深澳電廠) in New Taipei City would increase air pollution in Taipei, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday, expressing hope that Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) could be more open about its energy plans, so that the city government could evaluate whether the heightened pollution is an unavoidable cost.
Ko made the remarks in a special report to the Taipei City Council on the city’s environmental protection, transportation and consumer rights protection issues.
Taipower is planning to build a coal-fired power plant on the site of the old plant and passed its environmental impact assessment (EIA) in 2006. However, the project was suspended for years due to controversy over its coal unloading dock, so Taipower proposed a modified plan, which passed its EIA last year.
While Taipower’s EIA report estimated that concentrations of PM2.5 — fine particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometers or smaller — in Taipei would increase by 1.733 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) per 24-hour period after the new plant begins operation, National Chung Hsing University environmental engineering professor Tsuang Ben-jei (莊秉潔) estimated that it would increase by 3.043mg/m3, Ko said. “The estimated values are different, but it is a certainty that Taipei’s air pollution would worsen.”
Taipower’s report did not include statistical data on emissions of heavy metals and dioxins from the plant, nor did it conduct a health risk evaluation to analyze the increased risks, the mayor said.
The state utility has not explained its nuclear power plant plans — whether they would be shut down and when, how the other power plants would supply electricity in northern Taiwan, or whether distributing electricity from the south to make up for the shortfall in the north is feasible, he added.
PM2.5 pollution in Taipei was reduced to 15.3mcg/m3 last year from 19.6mcg/m3 in 2014, which is close to the national standard of 15mcg/m3 and is the lowest among the nation’s six special municipalities, he said.
“If the Shenao Power Plant operates, our efforts to reduce PM2.5 in the past three years would be negated,” Ko said. “So the main question is: Is our nation’s energy policy reliable and is the increased pollution an unavoidable cost for Taipei? We need a clearer explanation from Taipower so we can make decisions.”
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