New energy policies were announced prior to the Lunar New Year, including the cessation of nuclear power plants, which opposes the results of a referendum held on this issue. Taiwan's seven largest industry and commerce groups subsequently criticized the government for ignoring the public opinion and expressed their concerns about a steep increase in the electricity price should there be a shortage in the future. The groups paid a visit to the economic affairs minister on Feb. 12 to air their concerns.
The heads of the seven largest industry and commerce groups, including Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association Chairperson Guo Tai-chiang, Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce Chairperson Lin Por-fong and General Chamber of Commerce of the R.O.C. Chairperson Lai Cheng-i arrive at the Ministry of Economic Affairs. They were calling on the economic affairs minister to discuss the issue of the future electricity supply. Prior to the Lunar New Year, the ministry announced new energy policies. It said the operational life of nuclear power plants would not be extended, and no nuclear power plants would be recommissioned. The groups say the country is already suffering from an electricity shortage crisis, which is an issue of great concern to industries.
We worry that the price of electricity will rise if nuclear power is abolished. We therefore advocate extending the operational life of the second and third nuclear power plants.
We are here with our friends from the world of business to exchange opinions, communicate, and take stock of the entire process and results of the policy to generate zero electricity from nuclear power.
Industry and commerce groups say the government is not only decommissioning nuclear power plants on schedule, but has also set a goal of reducing the energy generated by thermal power stations by 1 percent annually. They worry that there will be electricity shortages during summers, when electricity use is at its peak. The electricity price may rise as a result. Meanwhile, environmental groups say industry and commerce groups are engaging in alarmist talk, and point out that some nuclear power plants have never been commissioned but the price of electricity has not fluctuated by a lot. Even if all nuclear power plants are decommissioned by 2025, the price of electricity will only change by 5 to 10 percent, which is within the permissible range.
Right now, the first nuclear power plant is already being decommissioned. The fourth nuclear power plant has never been operational. However, the electricity price is actually at a fairly low level. In 2025, it should be slightly higher than the 2015 level, higher by 5 to 10 percent.
The seven largest industry and commerce groups say there will be shortages in the future if nuclear energy is abolished and electricity is only generated from renewable energy sources and thermal power. They will have to discuss how to stabilize the supply and ensure the price remains stable with the Ministry of Economic Affairs to make sure companies will continue to invest.