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European chamber backs electricity price hike (update)

European chamber backs electricity price hike (update)

Taipei, March 20 (CNA) Taiwan should consider increasing electricity prices as part of energy-saving efforts, the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) said Wednesday. "We support the idea of raising electricity prices because it would make people more aware of saving energy," ECCT Chief Executive Officer Freddie Hoeglund said at a luncheon with journalists. Moreover, he suggested that Taiwanese companies replace some outdated plants and equipment or adopt new manufacturing technologies, which he said could help improve energy efficiency by as much as 30 percent. Asked if Taiwan should halt construction of its fourth nuclear power plant, Hoeglund declined to comment because of the diversified opinions among the ECCT members, whose homelands in Europe have different policies for nuclear energy. ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo said nuclear energy policy should be "up to the people" because it will have a long-term impact on the public and their children. He pointed out that Taiwan could develop more renewable energy, such as solar and wind power systems, which can be seen in part as a substitute for nuclear power and which could help reduce the country's carbon emissions. In December last year, the ECCT released a report that provides analysis of the sources of Taiwan's current greenhouse gas emissions and offers cost-effective carbon reduction options. It suggested that the government could force individuals or companies that cause greenhouse gas emissions to pay for them through the form of a carbon tax or a carbon capture and trade system, causing such polluters to rethink their behavior. The ECCT remarks came at a time when Taiwanese people and the government are arguing whether construction of the country's fourth nuclear power plant should be scrapped. Since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Japan in March 2011, the government has declared its determination to gradually reduce the country's reliance on nuclear energy. However, state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) -- the operator of the country's nuclear power plants -- has warned that local electricity prices will go up by at least 40 percent if construction of the fourth plant is halted and the three plants in operation are decommissioned as originally scheduled. The government plans to hold a referendum on whether to halt construction of the plant, which is near completion, and with not operating it even if construction is completed. The ECCT represents about 700 members from 400 companies and organizations. With over US$31 billion in direct foreign investment, European businesses remain the largest group of foreign investors in Taiwan, according to the chamber. (By Jeffrey Wu)


Updated : 2021-05-16 18:26 GMT+08:00