Lower-than-average rainfall across the nation in the past few months has added pressure on the electricity supply this year, as output from hydroelectric power plants has diminished, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said yesterday.
“This is going to be a more challenging year than last,” Taipower chairman Chu Wen-chen (朱文成) told reporters on the sidelines of a media event in Taipei.
Given that reactor No. 1 at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) has suspended operations since June last year due to a lack of space for storing used radioactive rods, a sufficient hydroelectricity supply would play an important role in supporting peak demand during the summer, Chu said.
The hydroelectric plants accounted for 2.6 percent of the nation’s total electricity capacity last year, with more than half generated from the Dajia River (大甲溪) in central Taiwan, Chu said.
He said it is problematic because the constrained supply would only be alleviated if rain falls in the Dajia River basin.
The Water Resources Agency on Feb. 3 turned the water supply indicators for Taoyuan and New Taipei City’s Linkou (林口), Sinjhuang (新莊) and Banciao (板橋) districts from “blue” to “green,” suggesting that supply is tight.
The agency on Monday also turned the indicators for Hsinchu and Kaohsiung to “green.”
The Ministry of Economic Affairs is to convene a meeting on Tuesday next week to decide whether to carry out first-stage water rationing at the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) in northern Taiwan, which serves mainly Taoyuan and the aforementioned districts of New Taipei City.
In an effort to prevent shortages this summer, the annual examinations of Taipower’s generators would be completed before May 20, 10 days earlier than last year, Chu said.
The company last year finished the examinations on June 1, while the nation faced its highest daily electricity demand and lowest operating reserve margin of 1.64 percent on May 31, Taipower data showed.
Two emergency generation units at the Datan Natural Gas Power Plant in Taoyuan are expected to begin operations on July 1, Chu said.
Taipower has also signed a two-year contract with EnerNOC Inc and it expects the collaboration with the NASDAQ-listed energy aggregator would help it reduce the demand from its 86 enterprise users whenever the operating reserve margin drops below 6 percent, he said.
The US firm would leverage its technologies and “smart” metering systems to reduce demand when Taipower notifies it that supply is tight, he said.
The measures could increase the operating reserve margin by 0.5 percentage points, he added.