Power back-up plan is self-contradictory, PFP legislator says

By The China Post staff

People First Party (PFP) Legislator Hsieh Chang-chieh yesterday called the back-up plan proposed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs'(MOEA) to replace the fourth nuclear power plant with privately run power stations “self-contradictory” and said it would not work. Hsieh pointed out that before the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took charge of the government, many of its members including Vice President Annette Lu (then the Taoyuan County commissioner), Secretary-general to the President Yu Hsi-kun (a former county commissioner in Ilan), and current Taichung County Commissioner Liao Yung-lai have all been staunch opponents of power plants built and run by the private sector. Now the DPP has become the country�s ruling party, Hsieh asked how it would explain to the people the policy U-turn it pulled by now backing the idea of privately run power stations. Due to the insurmountable obstacles placed by the various local governments and the strong protests from various communities, Hsieh said 6 of the 11 companies approved by the government back in 1995 have decided forego their plans to build power stations. In addition, he pointed out that insufficient capital and land procurement difficulties are the other two roadblocks keeping construction of privately run power plants from being built.

The PFP lawmaker urged the new government to clarify its indecisive energy policy and say how the country would handle the projected power shortage in a few years time. In response to the PFP legislator’s questions, Minister Lin Hsin-yi of the MOEA yesterday said even without the privately run power plants, the country would not run into power shortages.

Lin said Taipower is considering building extra set of power lines alongside the yet-to-be-constructed high-speed railway to carry the excess electricity generated by its existing power plants in the south up north to satisfy the region’s higher power demand. He also said that the government should have its final decision on the fate of the fourth nuclear power plant by the end of the year.