Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

German diplomat urges Taiwan to adopt coherent energy policy

German diplomat urges Taiwan to adopt coherent energy policy

Taipei, Oct. 23 (CNA) Instead of debating whether to have nuclear energy or not, Taiwan should hold a comprehensive energy debate to map out future policy, according to a German diplomat in Taipei. Germany wasted many years debating whether to keep nuclear energy -- a debate that lasted for over 30 years until a national consensus was reached in 2011 to scrap nuclear power plants by 2022 -- something that should not be repeated by Taiwan, said Mirko Kruppa, deputy director-general of the German Institute Taipei. "Move forward and go into a full-fledged energy policy debate for the future that gives everybody -- consumers, companies and investors -- a clear perspective of what will happen in the next 30-40 years," Kruppa told CNA in an interview Monday. Without a coherent energy policy, Kruppa warned, there could be endless debate on nuclear energy, which would take a toll on Taiwan's taxpayers. Improving energy efficiency, as well as liberalizing and decentralizing the energy market, for example, are among the issues that Taiwan could explore, Kruppa suggested. Currently, Germany is around 20-30 percent more energy efficient than Taiwan, he went on, adding that building codes in Europe, where new buildings are required to be energy neutral by 2020 -- and even in China -- are also much stricter on energy efficiency than those in Taiwan. The fact that energy use by buildings accounts for up to 30 percent of a country's energy consumption, not to mention the old machinery and facilities used by some of Taiwan's industries, means that "there is a lot of potential" for this country, Kruppa said. He also stressed the importance of a free energy market in which everyone can produce energy. "If you decentralize and liberalize, you can put more renewables into the mix," Kruppa said. A free energy market also benefits ordinary people such as farmers and homeowners, who can produce energy on their rooftops or land, as well as lower Taiwan's dependency on energy imports, Kruppa said, citing Germany's example. He admitted that higher energy prices would be inevitable in such a scenario, but he added that the current system of subsidizing energy in Taiwan is not a sustainable solution. Taiwan currently operates three nuclear power plants, two in New Taipei and the other in Pingtung, that are around three decades old. They provide about 20 percent of the country's electricity but are scheduled to be decommissioned beginning in 2018. The construction of the controversial fourth nuclear power plant has stretched over 14 years and has so far cost taxpayers some NT$300 billion (US$10 billion). It is scheduled to be completed later this year. Electricity supplies in Taiwan generated by renewable energy currently account for just 3.4 percent of the total, while renewable energy already makes up 25 percent of Germany's electricity production. (By Christie Chen and James Lee)


Updated : 2021-04-20 23:54 GMT+08:00