Premier Lai pledges to protect citizens’ health and ensure energy reliability

  • Date: 2018-05-04
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

Premier Lai Ching-te appeared before the Legislature on Friday to deliver a special report and answer questions on the Executive Yuan’s energy policy, saying that a responsible government will protect the health of its citizens and ensure the reliability of the nation’s energy supplies.

During the report, the premier also made three pledges:
1. Taiwan will achieve its goal of becoming nuclear-free by 2025 as scheduled.
2. The government will stabilize the nation’s power supply, first by addressing the severe energy shortage in northern Taiwan, and then by balancing energy supplies for all regions while the north continues to develop.
3. To cut air pollution across the nation including the north, the government will continue to carry out the Air Pollution Control Act, promote clean air action plans, move away from gasoline-powered vehicles and reduce emissions from power plants.

Regarding the second reactor at the No. 2 nuclear power plant, the Executive Yuan has directed the Ministry of Economic Affairs to closely oversee the Taiwan Power Co. as it restarts the reactor. Crews must make safety a top priority, respect professional opinion, and follow standard operating procedures to ensure that the reactor operates safely. Without safety, the reactor cannot resume operations, the premier reiterated.

The renovation of the Shen-ao Power Station also comes in response to shortages of electricity in northern Taiwan, said Premier Lai. Over the past five years, northern Taiwan has experienced annual shortfalls of 13.3 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), and in Taipei City and New Taipei City the shortfalls have risen even higher to 17.4 billion kWh. Such shortages will only grow more severe once Taiwan’s No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear power plants are decommissioned. With massive investment projects in central and southern Taiwan currently underway, growing electricity use in these regions will leave no spare capacity over the long term to feed demand in northern Taiwan, thus compounding the problem.

A responsible government must therefore move quickly to respond, the premier said. The modernization of the Shen-ao Power Station will help restore the regional balance of generating capacity and ensure continued development in northern Taiwan.

As for air quality, the current capacity of the two generators at the Shen-ao Power Station has already been lowered from the designed 800,000 kW to 600,000 kW, said the premier, and the generators’ high-efficiency ultra-supercritical technology will further reduce emissions. In addition, over one third of the project’s budget will be used to acquire advanced air-pollution-control equipment that will cut emissions by around 70 percent.

In light of Taiwan’s commitment to phase out nuclear power by 2025 in favor of clean energy sources, as well as conservation, pollution-control and carbon-reduction efforts at the central and local levels, the overall amount of air pollution in northern Taiwan attributable to power generation will actually be lower when the Shen-ao Power Station comes online in 2025 than compared with 2017. Restarting operations in Shen-ao therefore is clearly no cause for air pollution concerns, the premier assured.