TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Premier William Lai (賴清德) said Friday the government is calling off the plan to expand and reopen the Shenao coal-fired power plant located in Ruifang District of New Taipei City.
At a Legislative Yuan session on Friday, Lai confirmed that the Executive Yuan supported the decision by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to halt the controversial plan. The ministry said the planned third liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, if it starts operating, will supply the Datan power plant and generate sufficient electricity to meet the demand originally expected from the Shenao plant.
The plan for the third LNG terminal, yet another controversial case, passed its environmental impact assessment on Monday, after Thomas Chan (詹順貴), deputy minister of the Environmental Protection Administration, resigned.
Environmentalists and civic groups have long protested against the plan due to its potential impact on algal reefs near the Guantang Industrial Park in Taoyuan, where the LNG terminal is planned to be built. Its developer, state-owned oil company CPC Corporation, however, said it had largely reduced the development area to avoid damaging the natural habitat.
The plan to expand and reopen the Shenao power plant has also seen opposition from civic groups and local residents because of environmental concerns, particularly air pollution.
However, the government’s decision to scrap the Shenao power plant project was soon criticized by the opposition party Kuomintang as a political move in favor of the coming general elections, even though its candidate for New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) also opposed the plan.
Operated since 1960, the Shenao thermal power plant was decommissioned in 2007. To meet growing demand for electricity and realize the government’s objective to make Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025, the state-owned Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) had announced in 2017 that it planned to reopen and expand the Shenao power plant.