Are You Severely Compromising your Long-term Health by Living in Taiwan?


Have you got a source I can look at on this issue? I’m not disagreeing; this is just something I’ve been curious about before.


I used to disdain those who don a surgical mask in public, and now I’ve taken to the practice just to be on the safe side.


Have you got a source I can look at on this issue? I’m not disagreeing; this is just something I’ve been curious about before.[/quote]

Stats jump all over the place but this is from Taipower’s head around 2001:

What’s revealing in the debate is the same bullshit about energy shortages was made over 10 years ago when CSB cancelled the 4th plant. Remember at that time the plant was supposed to be ready in 2004. So why haven’t we had an energy crisis since then?

In fact according to Taipower just last month:

Which should mean that currently we are above the legal limit.

Yet as I wrote, 11 years ago it was all dire predictions. From an American Chamber of Commerce Report:

[quote] With the long-expected fourth nuclear power plant in doubt and few independent power plants under way, many are wondering whether Taiwan will have enough power to ensure a bright future. Most feel certain the island does not.

“We had planned on [the fourth nuclear plant],” Lai says. “Now we have to find new ways to produce enough power.”

For Lai, and many others whose job it is to make certain Taiwan has enough electricity, the loss of the fourth nuclear plant was a real blow. The central government and Taipower had counted on the nuclear plant to keep the nation’s power production just above its power consumption in the coming years. Even if the plant were completed on time in 2004 and were producing an expected capacity of 2,700 megawatts, the island would be just skirting an energy shortage, according to executives in the private sector and sources in the government. During the hottest days of June, when air-conditioners islandwide were working overtime to keep the heat at bay, Taiwan’s margin reserve - the amount of extra energy the nation’s power plants can produce beyond demand ran at just 0.8 percent. Taipower officials say they ideally generate between 15 and 20 percent more energy than needed. During 2000, Taipower estimates the average daily reserve margins will reach just 11.9 percent and will fall to 9 percent in 2001.

“We planned on the nuclear power plant for 20 years. We expected to rely on it,” says one government official close to the review of the fourth nuclear power plant. "Now we have to do without it. All for political reasons.

Now Taiwan faces the challenge of generating more and more power every year without relying on increased nuclear power, a relatively cost-effective way to produce large quantities of electricity (see box, page 21). The government’s solution has been independent power plants (IPPs). IPPs are private firms that build and operate power plants, selling their electricity to the government power monopoly, Taipower. It is a first step toward the liberalization of Taiwan’s energy market, a process that many nations throughout Southeast Asia have already undertaken.

At first glance, it seems reasonable that private thermal plants could make up for the lost power from the cancelled nuclear plant. Just five 600-megawatt plants would do the trick. But despite the central government’s declared reliance on independent power producers, the private investors attracted so far have had a rough go of it. Of the original 11 consortiums that intended to build power plants in Taiwan seven years ago, only one is producing and distributing power today. In June, the central government approved another four IPPs, but some of these projects are also meeting with delays and setbacks. By year’s end, one had already failed to meet key deadlines and was deemed by the Energy Commission to face an uncertain future. Clearly, private plants will not end Taiwan’s energy woes until the government finds a way to keep investors investing.

Taiwan is a power hungry nation in a very literal way. The island generates, and consumes, a capacity of nearly 28,000 megawatts of electricity, more per capita than any other Asian nation except Japan or South Korea. For its part, Taipower insists it has kept just ahead of power demand. In 1999, Taiwan’s power consumption rose 1.6 percent to 24,206 megawatts while production capacity increased 6.8 percent to 28,480 megawatts. But this picture of plentiful power is largely a matter of statistical smoke and mirrors, critics say. While on the average day Taiwan makes 12 percent more power than it needs, during the highest demand days of the year, the nation makes little more 0.8 percent above what is necessary to keep the island humming.

“With or without the fourth nuclear power plant, we would have an energy crisis,” says Kim Christensen, president of Alstom Taiwan, a global producer of power generation equipment. Christensen foresees “brown out” periods when power to different areas of Taiwan is significantly reduced, as early as this year.[/quote]

Notice all those brown outs over the years? No, me either.

Notice how we still seem to have a decent reserve capacity? Yep. Crisis is always on the horizon.


Well overall nuclear powder doesn’t really discharge any pollution, almost all of it is in the waste it produces, which doesn’t actually take up that much space, just highly dangerous. Taiwan also has one of the highest percentages for coal power in the world, not sure why they would want that as it makes them highly dependent on foreign imports.


Okay, update from the Atomic Energy Commision. Nuclear’s share is even lower these days, at only 16.9%.

[quote]In 2010, 99.4% of Taiwan’s energy sources relied on imports. Electricity generation totaled 247.1 terawatt-hours (TWh) which was contributed by: coal 36%, co-gen 16.4%, LNG 24%, oil 3.3%, nuclear 16.9%, hydro 3% and wind & solar PV 0.4%.

Nuclear power accounted for 16.9% of the total supply, compared to 18.1% in 2009. The decrease in nuclear share is mainly due to significant increase of power generated by LNG, from 46.22 TWh (20.2%) in 2009 to 59.29 TWh (24%) in 2010.[/quote]

The interesting thing is the increase in LNG which according to the report from 2001 the country just couldn’t afford. Again, it’s all bullshit folks that we need nuclear or that coal is the only option otherwise.

If the fourth plant is not built we will have no energy shortage.

And here’s an idea for Taipower. Turn the plant into a museum. They could easily get 2-3 million visitors a year given the location which would probably generate higher revenues than selling electricity.


Supposedly they have more than enough reserve power on hands through the private operators. Taipower didn’t mind doing this as you can imagine the lucrative positions the executives managed to find themselves post retirement.

I’m sure there are plenty of low hanging industrial targets alog with energy savings programs that can be implemented. Nuclear power is not that cheap if one takes into account the decommissioning costs (billions), ever increasing safety costs (new wall and other work to finish 4th reactor would cost an 2 billion all in). The problem with storage is very real with most fuel waste just sitting on site and already far beyond the original storage limits.

There are alternatives such as natural gas or increasing energy costs to reduce demand, if they are more expensive that’s the price to pay for a better environment overall.

Last question; why is energy demand increasing? Shouldn’t it be tailing off or decreasing when the factories migrated to China? I have a feeling there are a few power hungry steel factories and refineries accounting for much of this rise.


Taipower was saying recently that there could be a 40% rise in rates if the plant is not opened. I had to laugh. My current electricity bill was NT1400 for two months. So that would mean an extra NT280 a month. How will I survive??? Maybe if I didn’t have a hot water tank running 24-7 just to make tea I could lower my bill? Or maybe if I installed heavy curtains on my windows I wouldn’t have to run aircon all day in summer.


And yet, if they hiked prices 40%, the plebs would be out on the streets with pitchforks and flaming torches, even though Taiwan’s retail electricity prices would still be way below what they are in Europe.

If they actually bit the bullet and stopped selling electricity for less than it costs to generate it, demand would fall. If they hiked it a bit more, those dodgy steel mills and whatnot that HH mentions would go out of business, and demand would fall even more. Good for Taiwan, not good for those skimming off the cream.


I don’t even use electric water heater, just gas ones. Although I really hate gas running out in the middle of a shower.


Not really. Gasoline prices have managed to rise steadily without riots. Same with housing, food, education, etc. I think people would learn to accept it like anything else.


hmmm … that’s true. I guess the trick is to do it slowly slowly so people don’t notice :slight_smile:

Question is, then: why haven’t they done it?



[quote=“louisfriend”][quote=“dahsiung”]For everyone’s reference, here are some articles about smog in Los Angeles, California. It is a much older problem than even I thought, dating back to (at least according this article) 1903. … 31321.html … ehind.html

Here’s an interesting youtube video about Tokyo:[/quote]

And a hundred + years ago NYC’s streets were covered with horse manure[/quote]

That’s not at all the same thing. My point in posting those articles and videos was to show how this problem is being dealt with around the world, not to say, “You see, it’s worse elsewhere.” LA has struggled with this problem for a long, long time and it is only now getting better. The great majority of it is caused by human activity, but it is also influenced by the regions climate and geography. London has also been struggling with air pollution, as was pointed out in a recent TT editorial. It would be wise to look how others are dealing with the problem and what the results have been, rather than just making glib remarks.[/quote]

Sorry for being dickish. My reply to your comment was off base


Or better windows. I am astonished by how shitty windows and doors are here.


hmmm … that’s true. I guess the trick is to do it slowly slowly so people don’t notice :slight_smile:

Question is, then: why haven’t they done it?[/quote]

Well they did, to a degree. Rates are up.

But yeah it is weird that raising electricity is such a political suicide venture. Maybe because people think it’s generated here so the gov has control over it, unlike gas.

Of course it seems that way in Canada too. Gasoline rates would go up all the time and people would accept it, but when gas for heating went up, or electricity is was time to bring out the pitchforks.


A big chuck of non-industrial power consumption comes in the form of lighting. LED lighting is becoming more competitive, is on track to become much more affordable in the near future, and reduces the amount of electricity needed for lighting substantially. Taiwan has many domestic LED lighting firms. I just can’t think of a possible solution :unamused:


:laughing: But all those LED factories need a lot of energy. Taiwan’s solution will be to build more coal plants so we can build more LEDs to allow the rest of the world to use less energy. Kind of like the solar panel industry here.


There are SO many things that Taiwan could do to improve itself and lift itself up at the same time. They produce a large % of the worlds ‘green’ products right here! The first time I saw an LED used for public lighting was yesterday in Taichung city. I’ve seen about 3 houses or buildings with solar panels on them and one little solar farm wedged into the back of the nuclear power plant in Kending.

The only obvious ‘green’ implantation are the huge wind turbines that have gone up all around the coast, which are my least favourite renewable and low power solution.

Integrate the renewables with electric scooters and vehicles (all of which can be produced in taiwan) and you’ve got something that could work well.

These are the big tech solutions, there are also plenty of practical policies that could achieve just as much like insulation and forcing some of the big energy users to change the way they do things and encourage lighter industry instead.

Anyway…Taiwan could and can reinvent the way it does things and make money at the same time. It would just be different folks that made the money that do now.


One article I was reading lately on the nuclear power “controversy” was trying to make the case that Taiwan really couldn’t cut down as much on energy as greenies think. The reasons given were risible: because western countries had only achieved a certain level Taiwan could not hope to do better or likely even match. Never was it admitted that Taiwan is starting from a ridiculously low base, with things like window gaps in near every apartment, and no insulation despite everyone using aircon.


Electric scooters in the market now is so low powered that no one would use them. They have a top speed of 40 kph


How fast do you need to get to 7-Eleven or to the corner to dump your garbage?