44pct of Taiwanese mistakenly believe most of Taiwan’s energy comes from nuclear power

06-Dec-2018 Intellasia | Taiwan News | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Survey finds nearly 44 percent of Taiwanese erroneously believe majority of Taiwan’s energy comes from nuclear power

A survey published by the Risk Society and Policy Research centre has found that nearly 44 percent of Taiwanese erroneously think that the majority of Taiwan’s electricity is generated by nuclear power plants, while in reality it is only 8 percent.

In the wake of the passing of a referendum which called for a halt to phasing out of nuclear power by 2025, the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) recently implemented a survey to better understand the perceptions of Taiwanese towards energy transition. The results clearly showed that a substantial percentage of Taiwanese adults are poorly informed about Taiwan’s current energy mix and its plans to transition away from fossil fuels.

The survey, which was carried out on 1,078 participants, found that 82.6 percent of Taiwanese claim that they are concerned about the development of Taiwan’s energy transition, but only 32 percent reported being aware that coal is the primary source of Taiwan’s energy supply. Instead, the majority, 43.6 percent, thought that the country’s nuclear reactors are the main source of energy in Taiwan.

As for Taiwan’s renewable energy target for 2025, which has been voted down in the November 24 referendum, only 41 percent of respondents were aware of the target, while 57 percent were not clear of the policy goal. The survey found the respondents generally believed that Taiwan’s energy transition away from fossil fuels was urgent, but they felt that the “way policies are currently promoted is chaotic, lacks a coherent strategy and is somewhat unfair.”

The majority of those surveyed can accept price increases to switch away from nuclear power to renewable energy, and the rate hike that the majority of respondents (47.9 percent) were willing to accept ranged between NT$2.7 (US$0.08) to NT$3.0 (NT$0.09). However, the centre estimates that prices will actually rise to between NT$3.0 to NT$3.5 based on the current 2025 energy plan.

Also, though 60 percent of respondents supported prices rises to replace nuclear energy with renewable sources, this is a significant drop from 85 percent reported in a survey the centre conducted in 2015.

The results of the survey showed that the Taiwanese public is concerned about energy policies, but the “accuracy of their knowledge is not high,” and thus it affected their willingness to accept energy conservation and electricity price increases. This lack of knowledge was reflected in the contradictory outcomes of the referendums, with the approval of lowering the output of coal powered plants to reduce pollution, rejection of the phasing out of nuclear power by 2025, and the rejection of food from areas affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.

Given the contradictory referendum results and the dearth of knowledge about Taiwan’s energy transition plans among the public, the centre recommends that the government more effectively engage the public in decisions on energy-related issues through diverse communication platforms, including both traditional media and social media networks. The centre also calls on the government to provide a clearer energy transition pathway and better communicate with the public on its plan in order to “enhance the trust that the public has toward energy reform.”



Category: Taiwan

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