Friday, July 22, 2011

DPP Nuclear Power Policy Paper

Spent this week in Dasi. The town still has many buildings from the 1920s and 30s lying around; here is the facade from one. The stylized lions are really great.

Here is a short policy paper the DPP sent around outlining their Nuke-free Homeland Policy. Hope they realize the coal and oil plants will also all have to go over the next decade or so as well.


2025 Nuclear Free Homeland Initiative
Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan
Policy Paper 2011

What is the "2025 Nuclear-Free Homeland Initiative"?
The "2025 Nuclear-Free Homeland Initiative" aims to decommission the First, Second and Third Nuclear Power Plant in Taiwan and to prevent the commercial operation of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant. Taiwan will be able to reach its goal of obviating the need for nuclear energy by using other alternative energy sources, improving the power generation efficiency, energy conservation, industrial restructuring, and the liberalization of the electricity industry.

Why 2025?
It’s difficult to give up nuclear energy immediately since it requires the consensus of the whole society. 2025 is the deadline for decommissioning the Third Nuclear Power Plant, but Taiwan has to strive to change the power structure so as to stop using nuclear power by 2025.

How could Taiwan replace nuclear power?
(A) Increase the proportion of renewable energy: the DPP’s initiative calls for increasing renewable energy by about 6.5% of total electricity generation by 2025.
(B) Improve the efficiency of thermal power: In addition to increasing power generation efficiency, invest in thermal power plants in order to reduce the amount of carbon emissions.
(C) Construction of natural gas power plants as priority because natural gas is a cleaner energy, and future power plants should give priority to using natural gas.

What are other methods to reduce power consumption in the long-term?
(A) Energy Conservation: the Government can encourage people to use energy-saving products.
(B) Adjust industrial structure: instead of just focusing on economic growth, we should encourage green policies among energy-intensive industries.
(C) Liberalization of the electricity industry: the government should liberalize the electricity market, which not only alters the issue of Tai-Power’s monopoly, but it also encourages the development of the renewable energy industry

Why should Taiwan completely give up using nuclear power?
Of all the world's 564 nuclear power plants in operation, six of them have experienced accidents, and the probability of more accidents is approximately more than 1%. Japan and Taiwan are both in earthquake-prone areas. For this reason, what happened in Fukushima may also occur in Taiwan. If a severe damage happens in one of the three nuclear power plants near Taipei, tens of millions of people will have to be evacuated, which is a plan that cannot be implemented. Also, it may result in the paralysis of state capital. The cost of shutting down the government and rebuilding the damaged area and the risk of trade and economic loss is too high a price to pay for Taiwan.

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Anonymous said...

My question is: where does the DPP expect to get this natural gas? Is Taiwan generously endowed with natural gas resources in territories that are clearly under its control? Is there an undersea natural gas pipeline (preferably with a country not called China)? Does the DPP want to secure the natural gas reserves in the South China Sea, either directly or by forming agreements with countries like the Philippines?

Based on what I have been reading about natural gas, I am inclined to think that natural gas supply will become harder to get in the coming decades, so I suspect that, without a guaranteed supply, a long-term strategy built around natural gas is not a good idea.


Michael Turton said...

Good question. Maybe they think technology will appear in the near future that will enable them to extract methane from the giant deposit just off the island.


Readin said...

From what I understand, natural gas is a critical ingredient in fertilizers. How much sense does it make to burn our future food supply?

Readin said...

While nuclear energy has a lot to argue for it, the attitude I've seen of Taiwanese people toward long-term maintenance, combined with the small size of the country makes me think Taiwan may not be a good place for a plant.

The solutions in the policy paper don't look too realistic. Calls to increase efficiency ignore the fact that most industries are already doing that - energy costs money after all. "increasing renewable energy by about 6.5% of total electricity generation by 2025", assuming it can even be done, only addresses a tiny portion of the problem.

But of course I understand that telling people the truth, that Taiwan will have to keep importing oil and coal in order to be safe from the dangers of nuclear energy, won't win elections.

Anonymous said...

A few more general problems .

A. the upgrading of thermal (which is a really nice name for coal / petrol burning power plants) is already underway and had been part of the long standing and consistent strategy of both the DPP and KMT administrations anyway (ever seen that huge coal plant on the north eastern coast? that's being upgraded but the plan involve building a small port for unloading nearby which have been heavily protested on). briniging it up is rather silly as that's basically the contiuation of the current plans.

Take the Taichung thermal powerplant for example, it started out with 4 generator in 1990 and is now up to 10 generators installed over the years, including adding 33 wind turbins between 07-09.

B. The de-regulation of the petrol industry sureeee helped out Taiwan's gas prices! yes -sireeee.

Privitizing utilities in limited market is almost never a good idea. the Taiwan's public companies aren't the most efficent thing in the world but they're hardly the Greek rail company or anything. Taiwan's electricty prices have been absurdly low by world standards despite the fact that it relise almost completely on importing resources for power, the considerable government subsidy and the fact that Tai-Power is not really a profit company is a big reason.

But of course, if you write "we're going to raise power prices by like 50% so that it's used more efficently" (which would actually be the bases of most earnest and realistic strategy going foward) in there.....

I support a nuclear free future too, but you have to realize that if your goal is 2025, it means the last plants involved in this project can start no later then around 2020.

A 2025 goal seems highly unrealistic, the more realistic one would still be to let the current 4th plant complete and phase them out accordingly, espeically the ancient 1st and 2nd power plants must be phased out ASAP. But if you don't let the 4th one run it means you need to start buidling the replacement onces instead, which would even in the most optimistic circumstances take around 5-8 years to complete enough to replace two Ancient nuclear power plants.

Michael Turton said...

Conservation and energy efficiency here are actually underutilized in industry here, Readin, because electricity is subsidized.

And home residential electricity use is just a fearsome waste.


Michael Turton said...

But if you don't let the 4th one run it means you need to start buidling the replacement onces instead, which would even in the most optimistic circumstances take around 5-8 years to complete enough to replace two Ancient nuclear power plants.

Hopefully they would do that. It doesn't seem like wind power would take so long to get installed.


Anonymous said...

While I cannot comment on industrial energy efficiency in Taiwan, my anecdotal experiences indicate that homes do waste a lot of electricity. Of course, home consumption is such as small part of electricity demand (I think I read somewhere that households only consume 12% of Taiwan's electricity, but I don't remember the source) that even spectacular gains in energy efficiency at home would not be enough.


Karl said...

"...thermal (which is a really nice name for coal / petrol burning power plants)"

By "nice name", do you mean "dishonest gimmick"? 'Cause that's how I read it. Get rid of nukes and we'll burn fossil fuels instead. *A lot* of fossil fuels.

Anonymous said...

"Hopefully they would do that. It doesn't seem like wind power would take so long to get installed."

It doesn't, except that Wind is ridiculasly ineffecient and ineffective with it's current method in Taiwan.

I ride bikes out to the coast a lot these couple years and always liked to look at the windmills that dots the North Western coast of Taiwan (basically it's all the way from Taipei to Taichung) . If you bother to look at them for awhile you'll realize that half of them aren't even spinning most of the time, espeically in the summer when power are espeically in high demand.

The problem is Taiwan's natural environment and the limitation of the current model of windmills, Taiwan only have relatively stable wind in the winter , in the summer months they vary between too little wind for the mills to spin to too much wind that the mills often break with very little in between.

However since very few ppl use AC in the winters in Taiwan (the majority of ACs in Taiwan household don't even have a heating option). it's quiet clear that Taiwan's power usage peak is in the summer and not winter.

They're building an off shore wind mill in Penghu that's set to finish in 2013, we'll see if that changes the dynamics of Wind Power in Taiwan, but suffice to say if the DPP's solution to Taiwan's nuclear free future involve a lot of the current shore based windmill, then they're either on crack or is feeding ppl illusions.

BTW: Those off shore wind mill started construction in 2007, so it took 6 year to build if it doesn't suffer any setbacks. so it's not as quick as your suggesting either.

The Penghu off shore mill, by the data provided in 2007 by then DPP energy minister, is projected to have an output roughly equal to 1/4 of the ancient first Nuclear powerplant, and 1/9 of what the 4th Nuclear power plant is projected to do, even assuming that it does indeed produce that much and isn't effected as much by Typhoons (Which causes significant dmg to most windmills in Taiwan everyyear) and actually have stable production.

BTW, the off shore plant scheduled to finish in 2013 theoritically almost double Taiwan's wind power production, despite the fact that Taiwan's current winmill density on land is already the world's second highest after Holland, just to illustrate how increadiably inefficent it has been.

Michael Turton said...

Anon, since both nukes and coal and oil plants will have to be replaced, what do you suggest?


a said...

Actually, nuclear plants are thermal plants too. A thermal plant is any plant that runs on steam from heated water.

Could they have meant "geothermal"? That is a different ballgame entirely. While I am not an expert, it might be practical as well. Think of all of the hot springs in Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

As for wind technology, I recently read an article about a new type of wind generator which is 10 times more efficient than the traditional kind. The article is here:

Increasing Taiwan's windpower tenfold would be helpful, though I would like to note that wind has its own problems (for one thing, windpower kills a lot of birds, and that is a significant issue considering the great range of birds which spend at least part of the year in Taiwan).

I also think Taiwan should look into geothermal. It would provide baseload power, which means it could easily substitute coal and nuclear (which are also baseload power) *if* it is feasible on a wide scale.

On the electricity conservation side, I think Taiwan should also invest in solar water heaters. They captures the sun's energy much more efficiently than photovoltaic (though they only provide heat, not electricity), and provide more bang for the buck than the vast majority of renewable technologies. Of course, its use is limited (heating water), but it is definitely viable economically, and if every building in Taiwan had solar water heating it would make a dent.

There are various other technologies which I think would be helpful ... and ultimately, I think Taiwan (and for that matter, the entire world) should have a diverse power base rather than looking for any one technology to solve its energy issues.


Michael Turton said...

Nice thoughts -- but coal power kills far, far more birds than wind.


Stefan said...

@Readin - regarding the goal of alternative energy generation reaching 6.5% of total production: keep in mind that nuclear currently only produces about 8.3% of Taiwan's energy. So if you manage to ramp up to 6.5% on alternatives and add some gas-powered plants, then you can replace nuclear.

Also I think this from the Royal Academy of Engineering is an interesting read:

It gives an overview of the electricity generating costs for new plants, depending on type.

According to that report offshore wind power would be about twice as expensive as NPPs. So given that Taiwan's NPPs produce just 8.3% of the power, we could swap those with wind power. That should come out to a 4.5% increase in electricity costs - quite affordable, I think.

As for wind power not producing all the time - that's correct, you need to balance the load with other plants which can increase production to meet demand. That's additional cost, but the Royal Academy has included that already in their calculations. (Hence the "twice as expensive" result.)

Shifting loads from plant to plant may require additional investment in the power grid, however.

Readin said...

"On the electricity conservation side, I think Taiwan should also invest in solar water heaters. They captures the sun's energy much more efficiently than photovoltaic (though they only provide heat, not electricity), and provide more bang for the buck than the vast majority of renewable technologies. "

When I lived in Taiwan and spent many hours walking in cold rain with sidewalk tiles squirting water on my shoes and socks, I often wonder why a country with so much money couldn't build a roof!

Now it seems there is even more reason. Build a roof, put the heat collectors on top, use them for heating buildings in winter. In summer the roof keeps cities cool by keeping the sun off them reducing the need air conditioning and bubble tea.

Of course you would have to leave a hole for Taipei 101 as there is a practical limit to how high you could make the roof.

Michael Turton said...

Of course you would have to leave a hole for Taipei 101 as there is a practical limit to how high you could make the roof.

Hey, if the Romans roofed the Coliseum surely we could roof Taipei 101.

A white domed city would be an awesome sight with high albedo....

Anonymous said...


Actually, Taiwan started solor water heating subsidies a wooping 20 years ago, I had one on my roof in my old house, many people living outside of the cities in Taiwan actually have those too, but it turned out to be rather useless.

From personal experience, those pannel were both

A. not very good at heating large quantity of water. it's fine in the warmer months but often not enough in the colder months.

B. Have to include an alternative heating system for the times when there really isn't much sun and/or you need to use a lot of hot water, we installed an electricty heating devise which was rather expensive compare to the standard gas heating system.

I'm guessing that solar tech improved over the last 2 decade but given that our pannel often failed to satisfy a small family of 4 (Who were not particularly water wasteful) they better improve by a ton to really meet requirements. it would be rather unfathomable to think that they would be anywhere close to being adequet for the average apartments in Taiwan. (we lived in a very open house, no sunlight obstruction what so ever and we sit on the top of a hill )

My general feeling is that existing wind / solar tech is inadequet to seriously replace the conventional power plants in mass, but I'm pretty confident that they'll become avalible in the comming decades. Thus my general feeling is that I have no qualm with the IDEA that we should aim for a no nuke and highly reduced coal / petrol future, but I question the time line, there havn't been any truely huge breakthroughs in wind / solar power while things like more efficent power transfer generally apply the same for other types of generators anyway.

The DPP / KMT stance on this subject is actually the same (for example no one have brought up a 5th Nuclear plant purposal), the only difference is the timeline they're purposing. From my understanding of how long it takes to built power plants in general and the cost, I remain rather skeptical of the DPP's purposal .

Another factor that warrent consideration, within the whitepaper the DPP actually points out that Taiwan's excess capacity (aka their peak capacity vs the average consumption) is actually above international norms and factor in the reduction of that as part of their plan to go nuke free, but my question would be... wouldn't relying more on solar / wind require you to have MORE excessive capacity due to the inconsistent nature of those plants?

Anonymous said...

Hi all,

It is a very old post, but as DPP Tsai Ing Wen is elected as Taiwan's president, I was wondering if her policy has changed since And if Someone could give me the link to the white paper on this issue.

Thank you