There’s a lot of protests ongoing in Taiwan regarding the 4th nuclear plant, and during a discussion this week I found myself challenged on arguments I had not verified. So I did some research based on official materials to give a basic background on Taiwan’s overall energy market. This is a long post, you’ll need a while to go through it! I am of course not an expert in the field of energy so please forgive -and correct- any inaccuracy.
1) Taiwan is highly dependent on imports to meet its energy needs, actually 97% of its energy comes from imports according to Taipower.
2) There is a strong dilemma between:
- a) safety of operations when using nuclear energy vs. meeting targets of cutting carbon emissions when using coal and gas,
- b) meet a fast growing demand and at the same time diversify supply by country and type of energy, while keeping low prices, as fossil energy keep getting more expensive and the Middle East gets unstable.
3) An order of idea: the 4th nuclear plant capacity is 2700MW, but just between 1998 and 1999, the overall installed capacity and demand has grown by more than 3000MW!
I think that Taiwan is NOT made to bear such a rapid growth, i.e. that the best way to address the problem would be to raise electricity costs and to strongly discourage polluting industries. Due to many uncertainties linked to nuclear energy, and the relatively small role it plays, I would also disengage from it. Sounds like an utopy though, since everyone just wants zero risk and maximum comfort…
Ready? let’s dig in the numbers. Wanna jump directly to a page, use one of the links below: