Despite fears that Taiwan will face power shortages in three years due to the government's energy policy, a survey has found that over half of the people still want it to reduce the output of thermal power.
The poll results echoed the outcome of the No.7 referendum held Nov. 24 last year, in which 73.8 percent of voters answered "yes" to the question: "Do you agree to a reduction of 1 percent per year of the electricity production of thermal power plants?"
The referendum result, widely viewed as a public outcry against pollution from the use of fossil fuel for power generation, has put the administration of the Democratic Progressive Party in a dilemma due to its long-time advocacy of phasing out the use of nuclear power and making Taiwan nuclear free by 2025.
According to the results of the survey released by the Taiwan Research Institute (TRI) Monday, 54.4 percent of the respondents said they back the government's desire to carry out the policy in line with the referendum result "even if power shortages are foreseen in three years."
TRI President Wu Tsai-yi (吳再益) said the result shows the public disgruntlement with Taiwan's increasing air pollution. Noting that the public might not be aware of the pressure facing the government in providing sufficient electricity, he reminded the government that a stable electricity supply is the top priority of its power policy.
Although Taiwan's people are highly concerned about the government's energy policy, they might not have a good understanding of the issue, the TRI said.
According to the country's 2018 energy mix published by the Bureau of Energy, 46.3 percent of Taiwan's electricity comes from coal, 34.6 percent from natural gas, and 10.1 percent from nuclear power.
However, the survey shows that 58.8 percent of the respondents think that nuclear power is the major source of the country's power, which is far from the current situation, the TRI said.
According to the survey, 41.7 percent expressed "very strong" support for the government's goal of a nuclear-free homeland "under the condition that power supplies will remain stable without the use of nuclear power."
At the same time, 41.2 percent said they are most concerned about where the country's nuclear waste will be disposed of.
In response to the question of whether the service time of the existing nuclear power plants should be extended, 29.6 percent "do not support the idea very much, if there is nowhere to handle nuclear waste."
Asked whether "you or your family can accept nuclear waste being stored in your city," some 66.2 percent said they are against the idea, with 41.4 of them expressing "very strong opposition."
The TRI conducted the survey from March 2-5 collecting 1,515 valid samples from respondents aged 18 or older. It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.52 percentage points.