Mon, Aug 08, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Taipower touts plan to build NT$120bn in wind turbines

AFP , TAIPEI

Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) is planning ambitious wind-generated electricity projects estimated to cost at least NT$120 billion (US$3.76 billion) as oil prices hit record levels, an official said yesterday.

The government has demanded that electricity generated from renewable sources, including hydraulic, wind and solar power, should account for 10 percent of domestic supply by 2011, up from the present 5.45 percent, with wind-generated electricity totalling an estimated 216 megawatts.

"As hydraulic power is nearly saturated here after decades of development and solar power is not really commercially viable, wind power is the most potential source of clean energy for the decade ahead," said Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄), head of the wind power development unit of Taipower.

Taipower, which currently has 30 wind turbines with a total 5.4 megawatts' capacity, is planning to build another 200 wind turbines on Taiwan and the island of Penghu in the Taiwan Strait before the end of 2010.

Each turbine costs at least NT$100 million.

"But after the project is completed, there will be few land sites left for the construction of wind turbines and more turbines will have to be built offshore," Chen said.

Taipower plans to build 546 offshore turbines, each with a capacity of 3.6 megawatts from 2010-2020. Each of those turbines will cost an estimated NT$200 million.

Out of the 546, 176 would be built off Penghu, which Chen said is one of the best wind farms in the world. Electricity would be transmitted to Taiwan through 40km undersea cables.

The rest of the planned offshore turbines would be located some 10-15 kilometers off the western counties of Changhwa and Yunlin.

The call for diversified energy sources has grown as crude oil prices continue to rise. Taiwan imports nearly all of its energy needs.

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