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Taiwan Election 2024: Nuclear power becomes the focus of energy policies

Taipei (TYR) - With conflicting energy policies from three candidates, the Taiwan presidential election will be held on Jan. 13, which has become one of the major focuses among voters in Taiwan.

To reduce dependence on fossil fuels, three political parties propose different approaches. While the Kuomintang proposes to extend the use of the existing three nuclear power plants and restart the fourth plant, the Democratic Progressive Party and Taiwan People's Party focus on developing renewable energy, such as hydroelectric power, geothermal energy and ocean energy, to reduce dependence on nuclear power.

Three candidates, Ko Wen-je, Lai Ching-te, and Hou Yu-ih, are organising their election campaign in Tainan.

In the past nearly eight years under Tsai Ing-wen’s government, Taiwan's electricity price has been raised by 23%; the most recent rise was about 11% in April 2023.

According to the data from Taiwan Power Company, the latest average price of electricity in November was NT $3.09/ kWh (about HK$ 0.78/ kWh), which is 13.4% and 19.2% higher than the average price in the past two years, respectively.

The research from Global Petrol shows that the world's average electricity price for family use in June 2023 was US$ 0.156/ kWh (about HK$ 1.25/ kWh), which was 76% higher than the average price in Taiwan in the same period.

The average electricity price for businesses was US$0.153/ kWh (about HK$ 1.17/ kWh), recorded 39% higher than in the same period in Taiwan.

Regarding the changes in electricity prices, residents in Taichung city said the increase in electricity prices is acceptable. 

“The prices of everything are rising, not only the electricity price but also the costs of food, transportation and housing. I think the increase in electricity prices is not a major burden,” said Marry Liao, a housewife living in Taichung.

Data from the Taiwan Statistics Bureau shows that Taiwan's year-on-year CPI index increased by 2.5% in 2023, recording four consecutive years of growth and far behind the increase rate of electricity prices.

Jack Lin, the owner of a street food stall near Feng Chia University, increases the selling prices accordingly to maintain profit. “It is a way to pass on the costs to customers.”

The classification and composition of the Taipower system’s power generation over the years since 1980, which was made by Flourish. (Data Courtesy: Taipower)

Taiwan has suffered three times island-wide power outage in 2022. According to research from the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy, about 66.6% of Taiwanese are worried about the wide-range power shortage in 2023.

Recap of energy policies of three candidates.

About 40.3% of the respondents said Taiwan is suitable for using nuclear power in the future, but nearly half of Taiwanese said they want to clear the nuclear power, according to the research.

William Lin, a staff at Feng Chia University, believed that safe nuclear power use could address Taiwan’s power shortage at a relatively lower cost than renewable energy.

“Besides the cost, another practical consideration is that it will take decades to develop renewable energy facilities. At this moment, nuclear energy is the first choice for Taiwan.”

However, some residents are concerned about nuclear leakage due to the continuous nuclear incidents worldwide in recent years.

Fredrick Lung, a Taichung city resident, expressed his concerns about the frequent earthquakes in Taiwan, stating that they “pose a significant risk factor to the use of nuclear power”.  He emphasised that any policy should prioritise safety for everyone. 

《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.


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