Taiwan Cannot Develop Renewable Energy While Secretly Subsidizing Fossil Fuels

Taiwan’s government claims that they eliminated electricity subsidies, but they really just hid them from public scrutiny.

The News Lens

Date: 2017/11/14
By: Nate Maynard

Taiwan plans to triple its renewable energy production to 20 percent by 2025 but

Photo Credit: Reuters/Richard Chung

carefully hidden subsidies threaten to keep Taiwan tied to coal, oil and gas.

Bringing this much green power online is a tough ask, even discounting a parallel commitment to draw down nuclear energy to zero from the current 6 percent of Taiwan’s total energy consumption. While difficult under normal circumstances, this transition is even more challenging when new energy projects must compete with fossil fuel prices subsidized by the government.

Subsidized fire
Historically, Taiwan’s government has used various subsidies to lower manufacturing costs for exports. This created country-wide economic benefits by stimulating industries, providing employment and boosting exports. Exports make up around 70 percent of Taiwan’s GDP.

台中火力發電廠。Photo Credit: 阿爾特斯via 維基共享資源 CC BY 3.0Taipower’s coal-fired power plant in Taichung is the largest in the world.
However, they create dependence and often cause fierce protest upon removal or reduction. While energy subsidies are often necessary for young industries to help establish sectors and pushes innovation, they make little sense in the modern world and can actively cause harm.    [FULL  STORY]

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