Wednesday, March 31, 2010

暖化危機 擋不住煤電擴張

文/邱育慈(自由撰稿記者)

 十九世紀的燃煤蒸汽鍋爐驅動了夢想,輪船得以快速橫越海洋,火車呼嘯奔馳過寬廣大陸。二十世紀的燃煤電廠支撐起經濟快速發展,留給二十一世紀初人們不只是烏煙瘴氣,還有經濟成長美景後浮現出的全球暖化惡果。而在全球不得不遏制溫室效應的此刻,仍有不少國家想懷抱遠古植物遺骸煤炭,夢想著千秋發展大業。但應用了最新減碳科技的新式燃煤電廠,是人類跳脫暖化困境的解答選項,或又潛藏著另一個未顯露的惡果?

新式煤電 獲亞銀資助
 今年二月初,亞洲開發銀行(Asian Development Bank)核准了 1.35 億美元貸款,以協助中國發展清潔煤電系統,預計將會在天津興建一座發電量250百萬瓦(MW)的煤炭氣化複循環發電系統 IGCC (coal-fired integrated gasification combined cycle)。這也使得中國將成為世界上,第一個採用清潔煤電技術建置IGCC的發展中國家;亞銀還將提供 125 萬美元的技術援助贈款,幫助天津該廠在 2013 年前應用碳捕捉及封存技術。亞銀表示, IGCC 配合碳捕捉及封存技術(carbon capture and storage/CCS),將可大幅減少燃煤電廠溫室氣體排放量達百分之九十。

 亞銀這項貸款,顯現燃煤發電仍是開發中國家無法跳脫的發電選項。事實上,接受亞銀資助燃煤電廠興建計畫的,也不只有中國而已。

 2009 年 12 月,亞銀核准了 1.2 億美元的貸款給電力短缺的菲律賓,將在宿霧省(Cebu Province)納加市(Naga)興建一座總發電量 200 百萬瓦(MW)的燃煤電廠。不同於過去常見的資助政府方式,亞銀這項貸款是提供給民間部門的 KSPC 電力公司(the Kepco Salcon Power Corp.),這新公司是由菲律賓 SPC 電力公司與韓國電力公司(Korea Electric Power Corporation )合資所創設。

 這項貸款計畫引起菲國環保團體與社運人士的強烈不滿,免除債務聯盟(The Freedom from Debt Coalition)發表聲明表示,亞銀此舉和抵觸了它本身於 2009 年公布的能源政策,其主旨為幫助亞太國家確保能源供應並減少溫室氣體排放。該聯盟表示,化石燃料發電所排放的二氧化碳正是導致全球暖化的主要原因之一。

 2008 年,亞銀與世界銀行(World Bank)聯手提供 8.5 億美元貸款給印度民間部門,在其西部古茶拉底省(Gujarat)興建燃煤電廠,採用的是超臨界燃煤發電技術(supercritical technology)。這計畫引起美國環境保衛基金會 EDF (Environmental Defense Fund)注意,批評這座電廠(印度計畫興建的九座新的燃煤電廠之一)將會大量地排放溫室氣體:在未來半世紀中,每年排放約267萬噸的二氧化碳。

 其實,類似世銀與亞銀協助發展中國家興建燃煤電廠的這類行徑,在倡導減少碳排放的此刻,似乎有增多的趨勢。這些計畫背後,都有著聽來冠冕堂皇的理由,例如採用潔淨能源新技術以提昇效率、大幅減少二氧化碳排放、促進當地經濟發展與消滅貧窮與等等。但這些資助單位仍無法躲過環保團體的猛烈砲轟,理由是燃煤電廠仍無法擺脫「污染者」的污名。然而,接受幫助的發展中國家如印度、南非、或者其他,卻都相當樂意接受這類貸款與相關技術援助贈款,燃煤電廠也如雨後春筍般出現。

 就煤礦蘊藏量而言,美國擁有世界最大蘊藏量,超過俄羅斯與中國。但是中國卻是世界上最大的煤礦開採國,也因此,燃煤發電一直是主流,約供應了全國八成的電力。這也可預見,在用電需求孔急的經濟急速發展趨勢中,煤仍然會是中國最仰賴的能源來源。而這現象,同樣也出現在世界上其他正快速成長的市場。「和中國一樣,印度仍將仰賴燃煤電廠。這也是為何大家仍拼命地找尋著降低碳排放的技術。」長期觀察全球能源與環境政策的印度資深環境記者達利狄蒙(Darryl D'Monte)表示。

新建煤電廠 在美趨緩
 位於美國華盛頓特區的智庫地球政策研究所 EPI(Earth Policy Institute)早就注意到了發展中國家仰賴燃煤發電以確保經濟發展的趨勢。 EPI 的研究部主任珍妮特拉森(Janet Larsen)表示,儘管中國部分新式燃煤電廠的確比美國的電廠效率高些,但他們仍然是主要的污染源。「就氣候與健康觀點而言,煤絕對是大眾頭號敵人!」

 拉森表示,從經濟與安全的觀點來看,中國內部仍有許多人擔憂對進口煤炭的依賴日漸加深,而大聲呼籲停建燃煤電廠。她認為,中國不只該停止興建新的燃煤電廠,也該逐漸關閉老舊電廠。而美國,也已經開始如此進行了。

 近年來在美國,拒絕燃煤發電的大勝利,是 2007 年由 EDF 所主導的反對行動。經過幾番策略與協商,德州原本將興建十一座新的燃煤電廠的計畫大幅降為三座。而同樣公開表示強力反對興建新的燃煤電廠的公眾人物,除了一向力倡環保前美國副總統高爾之外,還有許多來自加州、佛羅里達、密西根、華盛頓、與威斯康新等等的州長們。

 EPI 指出,燃煤電廠還有另外一個棘手的問題,就是廢煤渣的處置。美國燃煤電廠每年所產生的一億三千萬噸含有砷、鉛、汞等有害重金屬的廢煤渣,並未獲得妥善處置。 2008 年聖誕節前,田納西州中部一座燃煤發電廠的擋土牆倒塌,約十億加侖有害煤渣廢土毒液亂竄,成為美國有史以來最嚴重的煤渣外洩事件。這時民眾才驚覺,其他廢煤渣還暫存在 47 州裡總計 194 個掩埋場與 161 個貯存池中。

 2009 年四月,美國聯邦能源管理委員會(FERC)主席威靈霍夫(Jon Wellinghoff)曾表示:美國可能不再需要任何額外的新建燃煤電廠或核電廠。於是政府、出資銀行、研究單位與氣候專家開始審慎評估新電廠興建的計畫。美國太空總署(NASA)氣象科學家漢森(James Hansen)說:「現在興建新的燃煤電廠,結果幾年後又得用推土機去給剷平,又有何意義!」

丹麥 禁止煤電再建
 EPI 指出,在歐洲,丹麥已經宣布禁止新燃煤電廠的興建。而對煤礦依賴逐漸減少的英國,也出現反對聲浪。去年(2009 年)十月,環保人士與居民歷時三年多的抗爭終於獲得勝利:能源公司E.ON在2009不得不宣佈擱置肯特郡(Kent)的Kingsnorth燃煤電廠的計劃到至少 2016 年。

 EPI 創辦人兼所長萊斯特布朗(Lester R. Brown)在他最新一版「B計畫」( 4.0版)書中強調,只要斷絕補貼化石燃料的使用,就可有效地減少碳排放量。比方,伊朗的油價受到極端補貼,燃料油價格約只有世界平均的十分之一,大大助長了該國有車階級人口與油耗。世界銀行曾研究指出,一旦伊朗每年370億美元的燃料補貼取消,該國碳排放量即可大幅減少約百分之四十九。此外,如果發展中的國家如印度、印尼、俄羅斯與委內瑞拉也取消類似補貼,將可分別減少該國碳排放量約百分之14、11、 17 及26。

 布朗在書中指出,比利時、法國與日本都廢止了對煤的補貼。德國對煤的補貼也從1996年的67億歐元降至2007年的25億歐元,更進一步地,德國預計在2018年之前完全廢止這項補助。

 以水力發電為大宗的奧地利,部分能源需求仍須仰賴進口化石能源,但它也逐漸地在降低對進口燃煤發電的依賴。美國能源部統計資料顯示,自2003年起,奧地利對燃煤的消耗量逐年遞減。位於維也納的永續歐洲研究中心SERI(The Sustainable Europe Research Institute )創辦人費德里希興特貝爾格(Friedrich Hinterberger)表示:「奧地利根本早就不把燃煤列為能源使用的選項了!燃煤發電的使用正在逐漸減少中。」

 根據國際能源總署 IEA(International Energy Agency)2008 年的報告指出,歐洲的新式燃煤電廠計畫大多位於東歐國家,像是土耳其,科索沃,波士尼亞,保加利亞,以及烏克蘭等。這些國家在 2006年初,陷入與俄羅斯爭奪天然氣資源危機中,繼而決定在境內增加燃煤使用。俄羅斯本身也不例外,預計把燃煤發電的比例逐年升高,從 2006 年的百分之27,提升到2010 年的百分之29,甚至是 2015 年的百分之37。如此一來,也可對外輸出更多天然氣,以能源供應手段來加強對鄰近地區的控制。

台灣 如何抉擇
 EPI 研究部主任拉森指出,儘管中國興建新燃煤電廠速率驚人,卻也有著相當多的風力與太陽能發電計畫,這至少還是正面的。畢竟,不久的未來,中國將成為全世界最大的風力與太陽能發電市場。

 而台灣對發電方式的抉擇,又是什麼呢?

 台電高雄大林電廠更新改建計畫經過三年多的爭議,去年(2009年)七月終於在環境影響評估中暫告停歇,原先計畫興建四座高效率燃煤機組以取代老舊的五部燃煤機組,決定降為兩座。顯然,像美國那樣加速淘汰並關閉老舊燃煤電廠的決心,在台灣似乎還沒見到。

 今年(2010年)三月十六日,高雄縣永安鄉台電興達電廠外海卸煤碼頭正式啟用。官方的新聞稿表示,這斥資 84 億元外海卸煤碼頭將可提高燃煤供應的穩定性,節省轉運成本。

 興達電廠早在 1982 年就開始商轉,其所需之燃煤,都是從國外以大型煤輪進口運至台電位於高雄港的大林儲煤場暫儲,再以駁船及自航自卸式萬噸級煤輪船轉運至廠區,一年約需轉運 550 萬噸煤炭。倘若遇颱風或者天候不佳時海象惡劣,則無法駁運,嚴重影響興達電廠發電穩定度。有了最先進的外海卸煤碼頭,電廠當然還將長時間地繼續營運下去。根據自由時報 2009 年 12 月之報導,興達發電廠在未來十年內,預計投入台幣 229.3 億元以改善空氣污染的情形。

 而在北台灣,台北縣運轉約已四五十年的林口、深澳兩電廠,早就是當地空污來源的最大宗。為此,台電積極推動電廠的更新改建計畫,將採用最佳可行控制技術之污染防治設備,完成後可大幅降低空污之排放濃度。深澳發電廠舊有發電機組已於 2007 年停機,台電將於電廠原址改建兩部 80 萬瓩級之高效率超臨界燃煤發電機組(super-critical coal-fired power plants),而因應電廠每年約 420 萬噸的燃煤需求,也將於附近海域興建專用卸煤碼頭。(完)


【低碳生活部落格】
http://lowestc.blogspot.com/2010/03/blog-post_31.html

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Taiwan Finally Lets Its LCD Makers Set Up Fabs in China

http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/materials/taiwan-finally-lets-its-lcd-makers-set-up-fabs-in-china/0


Competition from other countries forced the hand of Taiwan's government, which had long resisted transfers of key technologies to the mainland

Photo Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images

BY YU-TZU CHIU // MARCH 2010

This article was updated on 22 March 2010.

17 March—AU Optronics Corp. (AUO), Taiwan’s largest manufacturer of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display panels (TFT-LCD), submitted an application on 15 March to the government confirming its plan to build a 7.5-generation plant in eastern China. It thus became the first Taiwanese LCD maker to take advantage of its own country’s lifting of the ban on building TFT-LCD fabs in China.

The company plans to spend US $1.2 billion initially; the total investment will be about $3 billion. It will begin by processing 60 000 glass substrates a month, with capacity eventually topping out above 90 000 subtrates per month.

A 7.5-gen fab turns out a glass substrate 1950 x 2250 millimeters—big enough for manufacturers to cut it up into eight 42-inch panels, six 46-inch panels, or three 55-inch panels. These specifications fit the Chinese market, which consistently favors screens measuring 42 inches and up.

In terms of revenue, AUO is the world’s third-largest flat-panel maker after Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Display Co., both of Korea. Taiwan’s decision to ease restrictions on its own companies’ investments in China was a defensive response to the aggressiveness of competitors in China in 2009.

The Chinese government in late 2008 expanded its practice of offering subsidies to rural households that purchase electrical appliances, not only to stimulate rural consumption but also to narrow the digital divide between urban and rural regions. To exploit demand for flat-screen televisions above 40 inches in size, Samsung announced in October 2009 that it will establish a joint venture to build a 7.5-gen LCD panel plant in Jiangsu province, in eastern China—an investment of about $2.25 billion. The decision actually preceded the Korean government’s decision in December 2009 that allowed Samsung and LG Display to establish TFT-LCD fabs in China.

In August 2009, Japan’s Sharp Corp., which has been doing business in China for years, agreed with both Nanjing Municipal Government of Jiangsu province and Nanjing China Electronics Panda Group Corp. to sell used 6th-generation equipment and also to help establish an 8th-generation LCD panel production line.

The original ban is a leftover from the days of political hostility between China and Taiwan following the Chinese Civil War. The freeze began to thaw in 1987. Still, Taiwan’s restrictions on China-bound investments continued in various forms under the ”No haste, be patient” policy, to prevent overdependence on China. Even in 2002, when Taiwan’s entry into the World Trade Organization triggered calls for a wider opening of bilateral investment, the country prohibited certain industries from making investments in China in order to prevent China from getting its hands on Taiwan’s intellectual property.

Then, on 20 February of this year, Taiwan lifted the ban on building TFT-LCD and semiconductor fabs in China, enabling Taiwanese panel makers to invest in gen-6 and higher fabs in China—as long as no more than three fabs are involved. Most important, the technology to be adopted in China must be at least one generation behind the most up-to-date one in Taiwan. In addition, any Taiwanese firm filing to invest in China must also produce a plan for new investment in Taiwan. Furthermore, to maintain corporate independence, Taiwanese firms are not allowed to merge with or buy shares in Chinese companies. However, entering into joint ventures with Chinese companies or venture capital firms is acceptable.

Photo: Nicky Loh/Reuters

AU Optronics Chairman K.Y. Lee

”Related regulations ensure that Taiwan still keeps the newest core technologies and, at the same time, more investments will be made locally,” Jing-Yang Jou, deputy minister of the National Science Council, said at a news conference on 23 February.

According to Freda Lee, a spokeswoman for AUO, the company will soon submit its application to the Ministry of Economic Affairs for evaluation in March. Lee says that a gen-7.5 fab can cut some larger-size TV panels from glass substrates in a cost-efficient manner.

LCD industry observers noted that AUO may team up with China’s Infovision Optoelectronics (IVO), in eastern Jiangsu province, a company that has received approval from the Chinese government to establish a 7.5-generation LCD fab. AUO declines to confirm the speculation. ”The location of our new 7.5-generation plant will be not too far from our module plant in Suzhou of Jiangsu province in order to keep transportation cost affordable,” Lee tells IEEE Spectrum.

Lee says that AUO’s business in Taiwan continues to grow as planned, adding that in the second half of 2010 it will begin to install equipment for its second 8.5-generation plant, which is based at the Central Taiwan Science Park. ”We do plan to build a 10th-generation plant in Taiwan, but when to begin the construction remains uncertain,” Lee says.

Nancy Liu, an analyst with Taiwan’s quasi-official Industrial Technology Research Institute, says that Japanese and Korean panel makers have tempered the enthusiasm they had for investment in China in 2009. ”Since early this year, Sharp has experienced difficulties regarding the transportation cost of old 6th-generation equipment, further pending the deal,” Liu notes.

She says China no longer needs all that many foreign-built LCD fabs now that several local makers, such as BOE Technology Group, have received approval to build 7.5-generation and 8.5-generation fabs, together with government financial assistance. ”China aims to form a cluster of LCD [manufacturers] rather than just obtaining some new fabs independently run by foreign investors,” Liu says, adding that Samsung’s insistence on maintaining full independence has caused China’s government to back off a bit.

Samsung will have to form a joint venture in order to set up its factory, but it’s still unclear how it and its Chinese partner would run the venture. Analysts argue that Samsung insists on being the dominant shareholder, further disturbing China.

Meanwhile, though, relations between Taiwan and China continue to get warmer. Since incumbent Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou took office on 20 May 2008, Taiwan and China have signed 12 agreements covering tourism, fishery labor cooperation, agricultural quarantine inspection, industrial product standards certification, Chinese tourism in Taiwan, charter flights, direct shipping, direct air links, postal services, food safety, financial services, and cooperation in fighting crime. More such agreements are clearly in the cards.

Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that China has expressed its willingness to assist Taiwanese companies that make LCD panels. Signs of cooperation are apparent. For instance Chi Mei Optoelectronics, Taiwan’s No. 2 LCD maker, and Innolux Display Corp. are now officially merging into a new company, named Chimei Innolux Corp. Liu says the new company might also file an application to set up LCD plants in China.

As Taiwanese panel fabs are built in China, suppliers of related components will certainly follow. These components include glass substrates, backlight modules, polarizers, and integrated circuits. According to Liu, the Taiwanese government’s announcement has worried some glass substrate makers currently operating in Taiwan. When Taiwanese LCD makers launch mass production in China, they will continue to buy components from their own suppliers currently operating in Taiwan, such as Japan-based Asahi Glass Co. and US-based Corning Incorporated. According to Liu, these suppliers might also have to set up braches in China to lower the transportation cost.

As the market for LCD panels takes off, Taiwanese panel makers fabricating in China might do well. But once Chinese competitors obtain key technologies and form a cluster of LCD industrial outfits, China will certainly promote its own firms at the expense of foreign firms, Liu says.

Some analysts, however, note that allowing the establishment of 8.5-generation fabs in China can make Taiwanese firms more competitive. According to Taipei-based Topology Research Institute (TRI), Taiwan’s 7.5-generation fabs might encounter severe challenges when China’s 8.5-generation fabs go into mass production in late 2011. Running 8.5-generation fabs enables Taiwanese makers to effectively occupy the growing market in China, demanding megasize 47-inch and 55-inch television panels, TRI said in a statement dated 2 March.

About the Author

Yu-Tzu Chiu is Taipei correspondent for the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA). She also contributes to Nature Medicine, Environmental Science and Technology,Reuters Health, Asian Water, and other publications.