Fri, May 29, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Power outages a concern: Taipower

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s annual energy reserve capacity margin could consistently drop to below 10 percent by 2018, as the planned power generation capacity might not meet rising domestic energy demands, sharply increasing the chance of power shortages, state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower 台電) said yesterday.

The prediction of the potential shortage has been moved forward two years partly due to a delayed replacement of the Tongxiao natural gas-fired power plant (通霄電廠) in Miaoli County, the company said.

Taipower said it initially encountered difficulties in obtaining construction licenses.

“The energy reserve capacity margin could plunge to 4.8 percent by 2019 following the retirement of the second reactor of the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門),” Taipower spokesman Roger Lee (李鴻洲) said at a press conference.

The annual power reserve capacity margin refers to a utility’s capacity to generate more energy than the total power system normally requires.

Taipower said it is better to maintain the reserve margin of 15 percent as insurance against breakdowns or a sudden surge in electricity demand.

Every year, Taipower releases a forecast of annual power reserve capacity for the next few years based on the nation’s electricity demand and economic growth.

Lee said this year’s reserve capacity margin is 10.4 percent, down 4.3 percentage points from last year’s 14.7 percent, due to the retirement of two power generation units of a coal-fired power plant in Linkou District (林口), New Taipei City.

Based on past records, the nation could face power rationing measures if the energy reserve margin drops below 7.4 percent, Lee said.

“To reduce the chance of power shortages, the nation has to conserve energy and the government must speed up the installation of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power generation,” Lee said.

In a separate press conference, the Bureau of Energy said it plans to increase its power contribution to renewable energy sources from this year’s 11.6 percent to 30.7 percent by 2030.

In a bid to accelerate the diversification of Taiwan’s energy sources and deal with the increasing risk of power shortages, the bureau is to boost the target for total installed capacity of renewal energy sources to 17,250 megawatts (MW) by 2030 from the previous target of 13,750 MW, bureau Director-General Lin Chuan-neng (林全能) said.

“We plan to relax the bidding regulations for solar power and wind power installations to achieve our target,” Lin said.

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