Premier Lai reiterates Taiwan's non-nuclear goal

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Premier William Lai discussing green energy.

Premier William Lai discussing green energy. (By Central News Agency)

Premier William Lai said Wednesday that the government remains committed to its goal of making Taiwan a non-nuclear homeland by 2025 and that there is no need for the public to worry about a resulting power shortage.

In an exclusive interview with CNA, Lai said the government will do its best to meet electricity demand, improve the air quality and increase the use of green energy by 2025 as it phases out nuclear power.

Under the government's energy transition plan, 20 percent of the nation's power will be supplied by green energy -- mainly solar and wind power -- by 2025, 30 percent by coal-fired power plants, and 50 percent by liquefied natural gas-fired generators.

On the issue of the business community's concerns over Taiwan's electricity supply, Lai said that in the past two months, the country's operating electricity reserve margin has remained above 6 percent, which cannot be seen as a power shortage.

"All I can say is that Taiwan's power generation does not meet the standards of some people," Lai said.

Noting that there are those who think the reserve margin should be at least 10 percent, Lai said the government is working to reach that goal by next year, for example by installing new generator units at the Tunghsiao Power Plant in Miaoli County and the Dalin Power Plant in Kaohsiung.

Taiwan's nuclear plants currently generate about 12-15 percent of its total energy consumption, while the remainder is supplied by various energy sources, he said.

Phasing out the 12-15 percent nuclear energy by 2025, therefore, will not be so significant as to put Taiwan's industrial sector at risk of a power shortage, he said, adding that wind and solar power installations will be sufficient to replace the nuclear sources.
Regarding concerns over possibly higher electricity rates as a result of more renewable energy sources, Lai said the increase will be minimal and will not affect production industries significantly.

He said Taiwan is dependent on imported energy and should find ways to ease some of that reliance by moving more toward solar and wind power.

Furthermore, the development of offshore wind power can also help build that industry and increase job opportunities in the country, he said. (By Ku Chuan, Pan Tzi-yu and Ko Lin)