Taiwan companies need more non-nuclear green energy: Economics minister

Taipei, May 7 (CNA) The Taiwanese companies that have joined RE100 have a total of NT$5.8 trillion (US$179.19 billion) in revenue, signifying the rising demand for non-nuclear renewable energy, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said at a virtual forum on Tuesday.

RE100 is a global initiative where businesses commit to use 100 percent renewable energy.

At the forum where Wang was invited to speak about Taiwan’s renewable energy development, the minister pointed out that RE100 has many Taiwanese members.

The 31 Taiwanese member companies, including major chip makers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), have a total revenue that amounts to about NT$5.8 trillion, she said.

“The renewable energy defined by RE100, however, does not include nuclear power,” Wang stressed.

She said Taiwan’s generation of renewable energy in 2024 is estimated to be around 35.6 billion kWh, while the need of the enterprises, surveyed by her ministry, is around 22.1 billion kWh, “showing the supply is greater than demand [for renewable energy.]”

Wang also refuted the argument that the government has not made the right energy policy by aiming for zero-nuclear power by 2025, underlining that diversifying the source of energy by increasing non-nuclear renewable energy should not be seen as a cause of possible future power shortages.

The minister’s remarks also came at a time when many are calling for the extension of the service of Taiwan’s second and third nuclear power plants, the reactors of which have either been recently or are scheduled to be decommissioned.

One of the service extension supporters was Tung Tzu-hsien (童子賢), chairman of contract electronics maker Pegatron Corp, who on Monday in an interview with local media said non-nuclear renewable energy would not be sufficient for the globe to reach net- zero by 2050.

He said by importing a new kind of nuclear power plant designed by Finland called OL3 and extending the service of the second and the third nuclear power plants, Taiwan could immediately raise its non-carbon-emitting power to around 50 percent of its energy mix from the current 16 percent.

Tung’s comments have raised particular attention as he is vice chairman of the New Frontier Foundation, a Democratic Progressive Party-affiliated think tank.

(By Alison Hsiao and Wu Chia-hao)

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