To illustrate our proposition, let us suppose that the Taiwan government said today that the entire nuclear power fleet would be phased out over five years, and would be replaced by a series of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants, rooftop solar PV, and wind power. The scare stories are that this would cover Taiwan in photovoltaic cells and wind turbines; that it would be prohibitively expensive; and that it would be unreliable since power could be generated only when the sun shines or the wind blows. All these claims are false. The reality is that just a few mirror farms using molten salt technology as heat sink would be needed, taking advantage of the fact that China is now committed to CSP and will be driving down the costs. (See our article on CSP (co-authored with Ching-Yan Wu) at Japan Focus here) The land area needed in Taiwan would be no more than 62.5 square km (a square of sides less than 8 km) – which is as nothing when compared with Taiwan’s land area of 32,260 km2, and comparable to the land currently devoted to Taiwan’s advanced science and technology parks. The Hsinchu park totals 650 hectares; the Central Taiwan park 1400 hectares; the southern Taiwan park 1608 hectares – totalling 3900 ha or 39 km2. CSP plants generating half the entire nuclear output would occupy an area only marginally larger than this – and generate power 24/7 in a way that is infinitely more reliable and safer than the current nuclear facilities. And – this is the central point – this would catapult Taiwan into a world-leading position as supplier of CSP key technologies and equipment while creating domestic job opportunities as well. Such a strategy would also facilitate Taiwan’s urgent need for industrial transformation from a lower to higher value-added innovator.The world needs to get down to zero carbon within the next two decades, especially major polluters like the US, China, and Taiwan, if we're to have any hope of containing the coming climate disaster.
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