The 4th Nuclear Plant and the Energy Market in Taiwan

2. Electricity consumption 1992-2012: explosion of the demand

Back in the 80s, the overall energy consumption was low, at less than 50TeraWatt-hour (TW-h), but it has constantly risen since then.


The first three nuclear plants in Taiwan were completed in the 80’s, and since then their production has been constant at around 4000 to 5000 TW-h. At the time, nuclear energy was providing around 26% of Taiwan’s total capacity (I couldn’t find how much of the generated total that makes). The constant rise in the demand has led to a massive increase in imports of fossil fuel, mainly coal and natural gas, which explain why today the part of nuclear in the total production of electricity has decreased to around 8% of the total capacity, and around 18% of the generated total.

1992-2012 Energy Mix

The share of electricity in the overall consumption of energy has kept rising, while the demand for oil started to drop in 2008 (as can be seen in the Energy Handbook).

Electricity by sector 1992-2012 Production by sector 1992-2012

The part of energy used for residential purpose can be correlated to the increase in the total population as well as an ever-growing penetration of domestic appliances and 3C products. However, this increase comes at a slower pace than industry needs…

..while the significance of industry in the national production is dropping steadily. Services contribute every year more to the national output while they have less electricity needs. To me it looks like an aberration that while industry production declines in value, the amount of electricity they use keeps rising.

One thing is clear, energy needs in all categories seem to have peeked in 2007, just before the world economic crisis, and the rise in electricity demand has been slower after 2008. It is easy to correlate economic growth and consumption of energy, as you can see from the chart below.

2003-2012 GDP-growth-energy Mix

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5 thoughts on “The 4th Nuclear Plant and the Energy Market in Taiwan

  1. taipeir

    Nice work! Some bits still remain unclear to me (services and oil usage?) but overall we can see it’s industry that’s the key to reducing energy use, although there’s plenty of room in residential and transport to gain efficiency.

    1. blf_taipei Post author

      Hi taipeir, thanks for your comment! Services refers to Taipower customers who are businesses by opposition to individuals and manufaturing facilities, if I understand correctly.
      For your question on oil usage, not too sure exactly what you mean?

      All in all industry is sure an important part of the equation, and that raises questions for which I have no answer: which are the most energy demanding industries in Taiwan and how much do they contribute to the national income? Can we get a top 10 of Taipower biggest customers, for example? Also, could there be separate tariffs in electricity prices for industries and individuals?

      I have just read today an interesting poll in Tianxia Magazine stating that people seem ready to carry the consequences of their ideas and accept if necessary power cuts, then only price hikes. They would also seemingly prefer having current nuclear plants run longer rather than open the 4th nuclear plant in Longmen.

  2. mie

    In my opinion, people should devote at least as much time to opposing coal power as they do to opposing nuclear power. Coal smoke is killing heaps of people here and causing health problems to much larger part of the people; it’s not just theoretical, like the problems with nuclear power plants.
    Taiwan even has the largest coal plant in the world, which is also the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, but nobody seems to care:

    1. blf_taipei Post author

      When I looked at the documents it also became clear to me that the fantastic economic development of Taiwan comes at a cost, and that is the carbon footprint. This is why I would be in favor of degrowth and rationing of power both for individual and companies. Do you think Taiwanese people would accept that?

  3. John Lysfjord

    Great analysis. For a next step you say “raise electricity costs and to strongly discourage polluting industries. ” How about doing both at the same time by introducing a carbon tax, like Korea have done?


What do you think?