How do you propose making up for the lack of energy production if Taiwan’s economy, industry, and population continue to grow? Getting rid of nuclear power is a good idea, but there needs to be a support system in place to pick up the slack.
You’re right, it’s not. But the government certainly wants it to, which is why they are offering incentives for people who give birth, not to mention the hope that industry will continue to expand – that’s the real energy-hungry part of future plans. Let’s get rid of nuclear power, but let’s not do it immediately and without a backup plan.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the 3 older nuclear power plants were phased out during the next 10-20 years. It won’t happen fast but I think this is the general direction that the world is headed. I haven’t followed the industry much since I worked at a nuclear plant as an intern a decade ago but originally the US plants (and possibly the Taiwanese plants) were approved for 40 years. At the end of those 40 years most of the plants got 20 year extensions after a considerable safety analysis. I worked on some those projects. At the same time these plants can’t be infinitely extended though. So I don’t know if the plants will get another extension but most of the plants were built between 1965 and 1980 so they would start getting decommissioned in 2025 w/o another extension. I could see the US going in a different direction since I can’t see a new plant ever being built in the US due to public pressure (especially NIMB groups).
After a little further reading it seems that the plants were initially built between 1979 and 1985 so if they don’t get an extension they would go out of service between 2019 and 2025. There was at least speculation from an old article that Jinshan and Kuosheng plants might not get the extension due to their proximity to a fault line but the article was old.
In addition only 8% of Taiwan’s energy grid is from nuclear power so it wouldn’t be impossible to generate that power using other sources during a time span of a decade.
They aren’t past due for mothballing. They were given 40 year operating licenses and they have about 10 years left. Comparable plants in the US have been given 20 year extensions so it’s not out of the question that they could operate for another 30 years if gov’t chose to go that route.
Taiwan’s birthrate last year was 1.0 per couple. The replacement rate is 2.11 per couple. No country that has gotten this low has ever recovered. Unless Taiwanese women give birth to 10 kids for a while or there is massive immigration the population will continue to shrink
Germany has an even lower birth rate than Taiwan, and it’s doing OK- although it may have a problem with the pension time bomb in the future. In Taiwan the state provides for nothing, so that’s not an issue.
If you look at the low birth rate in Taiwan as an adjustment rather than a terminal decline, then it’s not such a bad thing. The cities are much too crowded now, less people should lead to a better living environment. Several countries with small populations e.g. Holland, Norway… punch well above their weight in all respects, so there’s not necessarily anything bad about being small.
Have a look down any busy street in the evening. Every shop has lit advertising signs blazing in competition with the shop next door. You almost need sunglasses to walk down some streets.
Can you imagine the power saving if the Government stepped in and did something about this obscene waste of energy. My guess is, Taiwan wouldn’t need a 4th nuclear power station if they limited or prohibited this practice.
We don’t do this in the west and shop keepers seem to manage just fine.
There’s no new prohibitions required. Stop the 4th power plant and electricity prices will increase. Nothing will be more effective in stopping the waste of electricity than increasing the price with +20%. Yes, manufacturing will suffer. Get over it. It never made sense to setup energy-hungry industry on this island anyway. Despite crazy labor costs, aluminum is still made in Norway because energy there is cheap and abundant. You’d be an idiot to make aluminum in Taiwan. China is constructing 30+ nuclear plants right now. Move manufacturing there, find something more suitable to do here.
I see one of the problems with Taiwan is that they produce way more than they consume. Cut all the nuclear power tomorrow, and there would still be enough power generated to cover what the island needs. But there needs to be some buffer of course. I’d like to see Taiwan connect with overseas power markets. An undersea cable to the Philippines for example would enable the trade of electricity across international borders like it is done in Europe. The Philippines have done a great job in leveraging their geothermal energy resources, so they got sustainable energy. Tapping into this sustainable energy source would cut Taiwan’s dependency on oil. An undersea cable to China would of course also be possible, but there are many political reasons why I think that could be a problem.
I don’t think nuclear energy is cheap anyway, the 4th power plant has cost about 10 billion USD to fate and already over 10 years to build. They all need expensive decommissioning and spent fuel storage and maintenance. They also take up a lot of political resources and create instability in planning. Nope, not so cheap. They do reduce CO2 emissions though.
Taiwan’s has lots of options. The govt is moving in the right direction increasing electricity rates, it still needs to increase more. Or else the govt can help subsidise the roll out of solar panels and electrical vehicle syStems. The govt subsidise things all the time so why not subsidise solar panels more?
They are manufactured in Taiwan and create employment too., so would their installation.
The biggest thing they could do is cut heavy manufacturing especially steel and refining which would also help improve water and air pollution issues.
There is also loads of low hanging fruit like public lighting and store signs and air con max temp settings and building insulation.
Taiwan is literally DECADES behind some countries in some of these policies.
I don’t think subsidy would be a good idea - especially not in Taiwan’s culture. Exhibit A: electric scooter subsidies. AFAIK, the subsidy is only available for certain products (ie., made by certain Taiwanese companies). The vast majority of those products are shit. There is no other word to describe them. Low-tech, badly-made, ugly, rickety, unroadworthy, underpowered shit, full of cheap, unreliable components and batteries from China. They will be thrown away in 12 months and end up in a landfill. The purpose of the subsidy is to put money into the correct pockets, not to actually improve the environmental performance of road vehicles. And yet - if they wanted to subsidise something, it could be done sensibly. Rather than subsidising the scooters themselves - which they know full well people won’t buy because they can’t charge them - how about setting up public charging stations on gov’t land? Or just providing free publicity and promotion?
Likewise with solar panels. I’ve been to the PV show a few times and I make a point of asking manufacturers about their lifetime test data and expected MTTF. Not one of them had any data to offer, even the ones who said they’d get back to me later. Some of them, when I asked about their technical specs, gave me a big happy smile and said (in their best Engrish) “It’s a solar panel”. Yes, lovely. Well done. Thanks for that. No you can’t have my business card. Several of them admitted that they don’t even bother testing for lifetime. European and American companies, on the other hand, are making better products, at lower prices, unsubsidised. I wouldn’t touch Taiwan’s output with a bargepole. Come to think of it, with the possible exception of TSMC and UMC, which are world-class companies, most of Taiwan’s energy-sucking semiconductor and photonics industry ought to be left to die in a ditch, perhaps after being knocked off its scooter by a gravel truck. Ah, buggerit - most of Taiwan’s energy-sucking industry. They’re a waste of space.
But yeah - Taiwan has lots of options. But you’re asking Taiwanese politians to (a) put aside their partisan squabbles and ignorance and (b) think outside the box. Me, I’m planning a vacation in hell with my new skis.
My thoughts exactly. The benefits of losing these anachronistic industries would far, far outweigh any economic downsides.
Yup. Price increases would take care of this, I’m sure.
Someone has already posted a link documenting the existing undersea cables in Europe and the technology behind it. The interesting point is what this does to stabilize the electricity markets across Europe. Solar, wind and hydropower is powered by the changing weather, their unpredictability is why many want to continue with fossil fuels and nuclear power. But, with a connected European grid… when the days are sunny, the solar power plants of Germany reach their max capacity and can export surplus power to the northern regions. When the snow melts in the spring and the dam reservoirs fill up in Norway, they can produce much more electricity than the national market needs, and export the remaining power to Germany, or whoever is the highest bidder. This ensures that there is a minimum waste of electricity wasted across the region, and there is competition in many countries, which drives innovation in power generation. Unlike the Taipower monopoly of Taiwan.
I should mention that there is already an ongoing project to make an undersea power cable to Penghu from Taiwan. So they can finally get rid of their diesel-generators.