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Environmental groups urge Taichung Power Plant to go coal free by end of 2026

12/24/2023 08:56 PM
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Environmental groups rally in Taichung on Sunday, calling on the Taichung Power Plant to stop using coal by the end of 2026. CNA photo Dec. 24, 2023
Environmental groups rally in Taichung on Sunday, calling on the Taichung Power Plant to stop using coal by the end of 2026. CNA photo Dec. 24, 2023

Taipei, Dec. 24 (CNA) Multiple environmental groups rallied in Taichung on Sunday, calling on the Taichung Power Plant to stop using coal by the end of 2026, as it is a fossil fuel that contributes significantly to poor air quality.

The fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emitted from burning coal is much more hazardous than from other energy sources, according to Air Clean Taiwan (ACT), the group that led the protest in front of the Taichung City Council.

The worst victims of the Taichung power plant emissions have been the residents of Jhushan and Puli townships in Nantou County, where the PM2.5 concentration is the highest, said ACT Initiator Yeh Guang-perng (葉光芃).

In light of the air pollution hazard, Yeh said, the Taichung City Government should work with neighboring counties to convert the power plant from coal-fired to natural gas.

Over the past five years, the Taichung plant has failed to significantly reduce its use of coal, she added.

ACT, which was joined by other organizations such as the Changhua Environmental Protection Union and the Nantou County Environmental Protection Association, also called for more aggressive central government action to discontinue the use of coal.

The Taichung Power Plant is one of the worst carbon emitting facilities in the world, the groups said, citing findings by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who is a long-standing and committed environmentalist.

"That is a disgrace to Taiwan," Yeh said, stressing that it is crucial for the power plant to reduce its coal consumption by at least a few hundred metric tons per year to "restore the country's global image."

The central government could show its commitment to improving air quality by at least directing the power plant go coal free for the rest of 2023, Yeh said.

Taichung Environmental Protection Bureau Director Chen Hung-yi (陳宏益), who also attended the rally to support the groups, told reporters that the city has been tightening its air pollution regulations in recent years to combat global warming.

The Taichung facility, the largest thermal power plant in Taiwan, has 10 coal-fired steam turbine generators with a combined capacity of 5,500 megawatts, according to the website of the state-run Taiwan Power Co.

(By Chao Li-yen and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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