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TPP's Ko outlines energy policy platform

11/01/2023 10:07 PM
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Taiwan People's Party presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (right) unveils an energy policy platform on Wednesday. CNA photo
Taiwan People's Party presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (right) unveils an energy policy platform on Wednesday. CNA photo

Taipei, Nov. 1 (CNA) Taiwan People's Party (TPP) presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) officially presented his energy policy platform on Wednesday, calling for sustainable energy transition and the extended use of two nuclear power plants that have been or are scheduled to be decommissioned.

Ko held a press conference to outline the party's energy policy, which he said by 2030 would be 45 percent gas, 30 percent renewable energy, 15 percent coal and 10 percent nuclear energy.

He criticized the carbon emissions reduction goal set by the incumbent government in 2020 of reducing emissions by 2 percent from the 2005 baseline, as a clear failure as emissions actually increased by 2.6 percent in 2021.

Ko also slammed the government's approach to developing renewable power and the work of the National Council for Sustainable Development, established in 1997 under the Executive Yuan.

The TPP nominee proposed the establishment of a "Climate Change and Sustainability Committee" that would invite representatives from government agencies, academia, civic groups, youth, and other stakeholders to draw up strategies for the country's sustainable development.

Ko also proposed allocating carbon emissions quotas to different sectors, regularly examine the results of carbon emissions reduction initiatives, and set up a "transition fund" paid for by carbon fees, to promote balanced development.

Other than relying on a wide range of energy sources to lower Taiwan's dependence on imports, the development of various kinds of renewable energy and investment in green technologies should also be encouraged, Ko added.

Nuclear power is necessary for the country's energy transition and the most pragmatic way is not to set a deadline to "stop nuclear power," which should only be done when renewable energy is sufficiently developed, Ko said.

For this reason he proposed extending the operation of the Kuosheng (No. 2) Nuclear Power Plant and the Ma-anshang (No. 3) Nuclear Power Plant and reexamining the operability of the Longmen (No. 4) Nuclear Power Plant.

However, the No. 2 plant started the decommissioning process in 2023, and the No. 3 plant will do the same next year in accordance with existing regulations.

To solve the existing problems of renewable energy developing projects resulting in disputes between developers and local governments or communities, Ko said a coordination mechanism should be established so developers and local communities can transparently coordinate their respective needs before approval is granted to developers.

On carbon pricing, Ko said Taiwan should have a carbon pricing mechanism that prevents Taiwanese enterprises from being taxed by other countries.

Following the release of Ko's energy policy, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential campaign office issued a statement saying that envisioning a future with various sources of renewable energy while refusing to set a deadline for nuclear power is irresponsible.

The DPP also criticized Ko for saying "how nuclear waste should be handled can be discussed later" while proposing the extension of the operation of nuclear power plants.

On Oct. 19, DPP presidential candidate Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said he did not rule out the use of nuclear power if its safety is guaranteed and the nuclear waste problem can be solved, while in July Kuomintang presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) said if elected he would not phase out nuclear power and undertook to reopen decommissioned plants.

(By Kuo Chien-shen, Yeh Su-ping, and Alison Hsiao)

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