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DPP greenlights plan to 'green' cities, counties

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is planning to “green” select cities and counties to mitigate Taiwan's dependence on nuclear energy.

The DPP's Central Standing Committee has approved a plan to push renewable energy sources in DPP-governed cities and counties, according to DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲).

Under the proposal, which was sponsored by former Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), the headquarters will promote solar power in the south and geothermal energy in the north as a step toward a “nuclear-free homeland.”

“The people will be able to see for themselves what the DPP's energy policy means,” said Lin yesterday.

Also at the weekly committee, the opposition party heard a report on solar power prospects by Lin Ching-fuh (林清富) of National Taiwan University's Department of Electrical Engineering.

According to Lin Ching-fuh's report, Taiwan is highly capable of abandoning the nuclear option, in part because nuclear power accounts for a relatively low percentage of Taiwan's energy portfolio, said DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang yesterday.

As a major producer of green technologies, Taiwan also has the hardware capabilities for going nuclear-free.

In addition, as research and development advances, the cost per watt of solar power goes down. It is possible that solar power can be cheaper than nuclear power in as little as five years, said Su.

According to the DPP, the Taiwan Power Co. has deliberately hindered Taiwan's move toward renewable energy. The state utility, which has a long-term monopoly on the energy market, is a major shaper of Taiwan's energy policy.

“Taipower is intent on pushing nuclear energy even in the face of a controversy,” said Su.

Solar power currently accounts for just 0.07 percent of Taiwan's total energy portfolio, so there is huge potential for growth, he said.

Besides promoting growth with the green cities initiative, the opposition party is drafting amendments to the Electricity Act (電業法) — which regulates Taiwan's power production, distribution and management — for a legislative vote.

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