What could help with the energy crisis in Taiwan?

What could solve Taiwan energy crisis?

  • Nuclear Power
  • Hydroelectric
  • Solar
  • others (like geothermal)

0 voters

Well, I heard cost of electricity and some options are throw out there… what do you guys think might work?

Taiwan is really limited in its choices. Even if you think nuclear power is acceptable there are several difficulties expanding it in Taiwan. Namely, lack of suitable sites for developing more nuclear power stations and lack of suitable places for storing waste. There is not much potential for a major increase in hydro-capacity. Solar is too limited in its potential applications and is only really useful in the south of Taiwan (too many grey gloomy days in Taipei when the sun don’t shine). Offshore wind is probably the best bet for a significant boost in generating capacity.

Policy makers everywhere seem to miss the key point though. Rather than installing more capacity it is often better to invest in energy efficiency. It is not difficult to see where major savings could be made, particularly in the use (or non-use) of air-conditioning. Some savings can be made in the short term. Others demand long term planning. Improved building design can save energy used for lighting and cooling, but all these new apartment buildings are being built that give scant consideration to this. So unfortunately we get locked in to these inefficiencies for the next 50 years or more.

Haven’t you been along the west coast and seen all of the wind-generators that are getting put up? There will be several hundred in total.

Taiwan is a windy place, so this should go a long way.

[quote=“Elegua”]Haven’t you been along the west coast and seen all of the wind-generators that are getting put up? There will be several hundred in total.

Taiwan is a windy place, so this should go a long way.[/quote]

I’m personally a big fan of wind power. I remember a few years back there was a big furor in the UK countryside about putting up wind turbines in beauty spots. I actually thought they looked quite striking and to complain about the view was selfish and short-sighted. Of course this is Taiwan where they will go up regardless but two thumbs up from llary in any case.

How about not blasting strong air conditioning out the open doors of every store on the street? And keeping temperatures in buildings during the summer above the freezing point? During the winter, maybe some people could get by without A/C. Ban two-stroke scooters and other pollutants so that we don’t have to spend so much power operating air filters. Use solar/sun-heated water heaters and electricity generators, at least in the center and south where it’s sunnier.

Basically we’ve created our own energy crisis. The reaction of “needing” another nuke plant is like the reaction to (another self-created problem) credit-card debt of cancelling the bad debts: it doesn’t solve the root of the problem and merely a band-aid. The thing about nuclear power is it produces dangerous waste that will end up contaminating Orchid Island, so I feel we should avoid it if we can.

My chili

There’s little interest in solar hot water down south. Although the climate is perfect for it, the water is very hard. When faced with a choice between a cheap copper tube/plate collector and a plastic (EPDM) unit, >90% of the market opted for cheap. An EPDM collector has a very high coefficient of expansion so the scale from the water cannot build up, and passes harmlessly into the bottom of the hot tank. The copper tube types get clogged within one or two years and become very inefficient.
It’s going to be an uphill battle to get these consumers to upgrade to a better system having already invested in an unsuitable one. The saddest part is that the backup heating system is always electric. Very inefficient, so the user ends up using more energy for hot water than if he’d stuck with gas.

[quote=“Poagao”]How about not blasting strong air conditioning out the open doors of every store on the street? And keeping temperatures in buildings during the summer above the freezing point? During the winter, maybe some people could get by without A/C. Ban two-stroke scooters and other pollutants so that we don’t have to spend so much power operating air filters. Use solar/sun-heated water heaters and electricity generators, at least in the center and south where it’s sunnier.

Basically we’ve created our own energy crisis. The reaction of “needing” another nuke plant is like the reaction to (another self-created problem) credit-card debt of cancelling the bad debts: it doesn’t solve the root of the problem and merely a band-aid. The thing about nuclear power is it produces dangerous waste that will end up contaminating Orchid Island, so I feel we should avoid it if we can.[/quote]

What he said…

Isolated windows, doors and walls to better preserve the cool/warm air you have generated with aircon or heater.
Roof-top gardens to cool down the urban areas.
Loop cold water around the house to pre-warm it before going into the water-heater.

[quote=“wix”]

Policy makers everywhere seem to miss the key point though. Rather than installing more capacity it is often better to invest in energy efficiency. It is not difficult to see where major savings could be made, particularly in the use (or non-use) of air-conditioning. Some savings can be made in the short term. Others demand long term planning. Improved building design can save energy used for lighting and cooling, but all these new apartment buildings are being built that give scant consideration to this. So unfortunately we get locked in to these inefficiencies for the next 50 years or more.[/quote]

Wrong! its been shown that improvements in efficiency lead to greater use of energy not less. (source: What price for the last drops) All of you guys are commenting on improving efficiency, however this won’t solve the problem. What they need to do is price electricity in order to govern usage and encourage conservation. If I were in charge, I’d be looking at outsourcing a supplier of power. Perhaps Japan.

Efficiency - my understanding is that high rise buildings account for about 20% of a countries energy usage.

I was doing some work on building management systems a few years ago. Many things considered standard elsewhere in the world (e.g. air curtains to contain chilled air around doorways, insulation, quantity and arrangement of temperature/sensors and their control of chiller plant, lighting layout and control, …) are not done in Taiwan. So you have problems like the local department store trying to chill the neighbourhood. Which makes the compressors work overtime, and require far more maintenance to keep running efficiently. Of course such maintenance is not done or done on the cheap, so the power usage keeps on creeping up.

It costs the construction company a couple of percent more to build, but it costs the owner/renter 10-20% more to operate the building over its lifetime due to energy costs.

This is why there are building codes in place in most countries - a small bit of pain that everyone shares makes far more sense in the long run.

Every extra KW a consumer uses is even more that needs to be generated, which means more construction, more fuel, more nuclear waste to dispose of, more transmission line capacity … best to not require that extra KW in the first place.

I think if a building tenant had the choice between a building that will cost them $X to operate vs $X+20%, they will always choose the former. The problem is having this choice and this means influencing the construction company to spend a little more upfront.

I think I read somewhere that a lot of power is lost in the distribution system from the production/generating side to the consumer side, and that production output could be reduced significantly if the distribution network was upgraded to optimal efficiency.
Say, if 20% of the power get lost during distribution and it is possible to reduce this loss to 5-10%, that would mean that a production capacity increase of 10-15% would not be necessary.

[quote=“ac”]Efficiency - my understanding is that high rise buildings account for about 20% of a countries energy usage.

I was doing some work on building management systems a few years ago. Many things considered standard elsewhere in the world (e.g. air curtains to contain chilled air around doorways, insulation, quantity and arrangement of temperature/sensors and their control of chiller plant, lighting layout and control, …) are not done in Taiwan. So you have problems like the local department store trying to chill the neighbourhood. Which makes the compressors work overtime, and require far more maintenance to keep running efficiently. Of course such maintenance is not done or done on the cheap, so the power usage keeps on creeping up.[/quote]

Actually power usage keeps on creeping up because energy prices are on the whole constantly going down over time and therefore new applications for technology become viable. Power usage doesn’t creep up because of inefficiency, its not like Taiwan (or anywhere for that matter) is becoming more inefficient, unless its because you take the stance that every electrical item has some inherent inefficiency and more electrical items get switched on every day.

[quote=“ac”]
It costs the construction company a couple of percent more to build, but it costs the owner/renter 10-20% more to operate the building over its lifetime due to energy costs.

This is why there are building codes in place in most countries - a small bit of pain that everyone shares makes far more sense in the long run.

Every extra KW a consumer uses is even more that needs to be generated, which means more construction, more fuel, more nuclear waste to dispose of, more transmission line capacity … best to not require that extra KW in the first place.

I think if a building tenant had the choice between a building that will cost them $X to operate vs $X+20%, they will always choose the former. The problem is having this choice and this means influencing the construction company to spend a little more upfront.[/quote]

Absolutely right, but you are looking at it from the wrong way around. When efficiency increases we don’t use less energy we use more. Also, my source from the previous post was wrong, its actually “The Bottomless Well”. An excerpt from the book:

[quote]
They explain why demand will never go down, why most of what we think of as “energy waste” actually benefits us; why more efficient cars, engines, and bulbs will never lower demand, and why energy supply is infinite.[/quote]

The reasoning is that as technology becomes better we become better at extracting energy. Therefore there exists a trend in that the cost of the raw material of energy becomes a smaller percentage of the overall cost of energy by the time you receive it.

So now most of the cost in the production of energy is actually in the technology itself rather than in the raw materials. I’ve only read the first few chapters…

Other: Funnel all of the repetitive speech into turbines. Hao bu hao hao hao hao? Should have at least the potential of cold fusion.

OK, it is an island – what about ocean wave-harnessing technology? Geothermal?

I heard that for nuclear it costs like .07 cents per kwh in raw material or something… but for solar and other “renewable” sources it costs far more.

Raise the prices on electricity and water usage signficantly and people will think twice about running the air-con with all the windows open.

Bingo. But you need to be careful about the run-on effects to business. Also, simply creating a floor beyond which the price can’t go below is not good economics. A tax is the best way to go… that tax should go towards educational programs / startup capital to companies that reduce energy costs.

One problem I see is that Taiwanese don’t really care about the conservation of anything…environment, energy, natural resources etc…
With a culture that only looks years into the future, encouraging the locals to pay twice as much for an energy efficient refrigerator for future savings will be a hard sell. Perhaps government intervention / regulatory body for things like whitegoods / aircons / vehicles etc would be more helpful since a flat tax could be placed on devices that don’t meet minimum standards.

I got into a taxi today where the driver had the air con turned all the way to the far left side of the dial and all four windows down. I must be psychic.

There must be a special place in hell for him…

[quote=“ac”]Efficiency - my understanding is that high rise buildings account for about 20% of a countries energy usage.

I was doing some work on building management systems a few years ago. Many things considered standard elsewhere in the world (e.g. air curtains to contain chilled air around doorways, insulation, quantity and arrangement of temperature/sensors and their control of chiller plant, lighting layout and control, …) are not done in Taiwan. So you have problems like the local department store trying to chill the neighbourhood. Which makes the compressors work overtime, and require far more maintenance to keep running efficiently. Of course such maintenance is not done or done on the cheap, so the power usage keeps on creeping up.

It costs the construction company a couple of percent more to build, but it costs the owner/renter 10-20% more to operate the building over its lifetime due to energy costs.

This is why there are building codes in place in most countries - a small bit of pain that everyone shares makes far more sense in the long run.

Every extra KW a consumer uses is even more that needs to be generated, which means more construction, more fuel, more nuclear waste to dispose of, more transmission line capacity … best to not require that extra KW in the first place.

I think if a building tenant had the choice between a building that will cost them $X to operate vs $X+20%, they will always choose the former. The problem is having this choice and this means influencing the construction company to spend a little more upfront.[/quote]

This is not the way the developers think in Taiwan, here it’s making as much dough they can in the shortest possible time … what happens later is non of their concern.

Tyc00n, I think your analysis and ideas are interesting. The key point probably is that pricing mechanisms, taxes and subsidies are probably going to do more to solve energy problems than any particular technology.