The nation of Taiwan has long served as one of the world’s focal points when it comes to aspects of technology, yet that dominance could be in danger without a political shift that embraces all forms of energy production. That point was driven home on August 15, when the country endured a five-hour blackout that affected approximately six million homes
Right now, more than 75 percent of Taiwan’s supply of energy comes from either petroleum or coal, with the latter form serving as one of the heaviest contributors to issues like climate change. Virtually all of these options are imported, which puts the country at a severe disadvantage.
Another current issue stems from the fact that the infrastructure in place is dated and needs. Among this group are the three nuclear power plants found around the country, which currently represent just over six percent of that supply chain. However, Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, remains committed to phasing out nuclear reactors by 2025.
While Taiwanese consumers are the beneficiaries of low-cost energy, thanks to government subsidies, that does nothing to help the government’s coffers in funding that badly-needed infrastructure. The political will to raise prices to provide such revenue, not surprisingly, remains lacking.
Ing-wen does want renewable forms of energy to take over, yet that day is far down the road. Right now, Taiwan doesn’t have the luxury of using such resources in liberal fashion. A heat wave that recently hit the country depleted its energy reserves, an eye-opening situation that can’t become a regular possibility.
One of the chief reasons that Ing-wen is so adamantly opposed to nuclear energy is that she won election to her office in 2015 by championing that cause. Still, that political future might be short if blackouts become a regular annoyance that affects key businesses.