State-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) yesterday denied reports that it was planning to build new pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH) facilities, saying that the idea only reached information-gathering stage.
Taipower said in a statement that many forms of “renewable” energy come from intermittent energy sources and storing it for use on demand, especially during peak periods, was a major challenge that had to be addressed.
The company “must first think about how to store power generated by ‘renewable’ sources and using PSH is one of the methods to store power,” the statement said.
Taipower said it is still collecting data on assessments of large PSH generators built in the past and the data will be handed over to the Ministry of Economic Affairs for reference.
Local media yesterday reported that the government plans to expand the nation’s PSH program that was last carried out in 1995.
The reports said the ministry has instructed Taipower to select six or seven reservoirs, including Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) and Shimen Reservoir (石門水庫) in northern Taiwan, Techi Reservoir (德基水庫) in central Taiwan, and Nanhua Reservoir (南化水庫) in the south, to be considered as sites for PSH plants.
The PSH systems would cost an estimated NT$50 billion (US$1.5 billion), according to the reports.
PSH is a type of hydroelectric energy storage used by electric power systems for load balancing. The method stores energy by using excess energy to pump water from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation reservoir. The stored water is then released through turbines when electricity is needed.
Taiwan has two PSH facilities: the Minghu (明湖) and Mingtan (明潭) power plants along Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County. The Mingtan plant was opened in 1995, 10 years after the Minghu generator came online.
According to Taipower data, about 3.02 billion kilowatt hours of electricity were produced by PSH generators last year, about 1.4 percent of the total electricity generated in the nation, while conventional hydropower facilities generated 4.45 billion kilowatt hours of power.
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