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Premier: Develop stable, efficient, clean energy supplies

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The Executive Yuan invited local business leaders to a symposium on August 18 to discuss energy policies as the nation works its way through tough economic challenges. Topics included future energy structure and stable electricity supplies; overall development of Taiwan's renewable energy industry; and regulations and measures for energy conservation and carbon reduction.

The event is the second in a series of symposiums on major financial and economic issues faced by Taiwan, the first of which was held on August 11. Premier Sean Chen and top government officials listened to input from business and industry groups and responded to their queries.

Energy is an engine of economic growth, the premier pointed out. As energy prices fluctuate and nations worldwide strive to conserve energy and cut carbon, the ROC government will focus on providing stable, safe energy resources and backing industrial development. Taiwan's energy policies are guided by the principles of stability, cleanliness and efficiency, he added.

In his address, Premier Chen said the latest symposium provides a platform for government and industrial representatives to exchange views on a variety of energy issues. Suggestions made by participants and conclusions from the meeting will serve as valuable reference for the government in forming national policies.

In the global movement toward greener energy, countries are upgrading policies on energy resources and greenhouse gas reduction into national strategic plans, Chen said. These efforts will help stabilize energy resources, promote sustainable development of socioeconomic systems, and turn crises into opportunities.

After several rounds of lively discussion, the premier summarized the symposium by underscoring the importance of energy resources to national security, public well-being, economic development and society's sustainability. Key suggestions raised by participants include:
1. Considering that nuclear energy itself is a clean, economical and dependable source of power, construction on the Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant should be completed, provided that strict safeguards are in place.
2. Taiwan should steadily reduce the use of nuclear power so as to fulfill its commitment to the international community while also maintaining stable energy supplies and reasonable electricity prices.
3. Green energy technology and alternative energy resources should be developed. When promoting renewable energy, the government should announce related energy prices and measures as soon as they are completed. In addition, renewable energy should be produced with low power consumption.
4. Natural gas is an important source of energy in the effort to reduce carbon emissions; emphasis should be placed on developing shale gas technology. When deciding on the proportions of various energy sources to be developed, the government should take into consideration the latest changes in technology.
5. Despite their environmental impact, coal-fired power plants are a stable means of generating of electricity. Future plans should stress clean coal technology and carbon reduction measures to minimize the impact of coal power.
6. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) should submit its draft of energy development guidelines to the Executive Yuan as soon as possible.
7. The Executive Yuan should look into issues of renewable water, carbon footprints, ESCO (energy service companies) regulations, green industrial parks, clean coal and carbon reduction technologies, and energy security funds. These topics can be explored at Cabinet-level meetings for promoting the development of new energy sources.
8. Concepts of green architecture and green materials as mentioned at the symposium should be incorporated into the MOEA's program to upgrade the green energy industry.
9. When building smart grids, the government should also adopt intelligent technologies for generating, adjusting, transmitting and distributing electricity; smart energy usage can also be encouraged on the consumer end. The MOEA should promote the use of smart meters among high-voltage electricity as well as low-voltage consumers. Power line communication systems can be incorporated into smart grids as an added benefit to telecom customers.
10. The Energy Tax Act, still in legislation, should focus on improving energy efficiency. The Ministry of Finance should integrate existing tax systems, clearly explain the amendment process to the public, and complete the task in accordance with administrative procedures.

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