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Taiwan to diversify energy resources: economics minister

2012/04/21 16:53:37

Taipei, April 21 (CNA) Taiwan's goal is to become a nuclear-free country and it is poised to diversify its energy resources to achievethis aim, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-hsiang said Friday.

"Although the goal remains distant, the government is preparing touse more costly natural gas and renewable energy sources to replace nuclearpower," Shih told a legislative committee.

The minister made the remarks amid criticism about the government'sdecision to increase electricity rates in the middle of May.

There are concerns that the higher rates for industrial-use electricity --which will be hiked by 35 percent from May 15 -- might have an adverse impacton Taiwan's international competitiveness and cause the country to lag behindits major trade rivals in Asia, such as South Korea.

In response, Shih said only that Taiwan relies on coal for about 50 percentof its power generation, while South Korea uses coal for only 20 percent of its power, with 30 percent provided by nuclear energy. Taiwan also uses more naturalgas than South Korea, and its nuclear power generation accounts for just 19-20 percent of the total, he said.

The structure of a country's power generation system is the key to deciding electricity costs, Shih said.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Maia Huang)
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