State-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) yesterday said it plans to spend NT$21.05 billion (US$699.22 million) to increase its installed solar power capacity by more than 300 megawatts (MW) by 2020, in a bid to accelerate the development of solar power in Taiwan.
“This is also part of Taipower’s efforts to reach the government goal of phasing out the use of nuclear power by 2025,” spokesman Lin Te-fu (林德福) told a news conference in Taipei.
Lin said the company plans to spend the funds on four projects across the nation, including NT$6.25 billion to build a 100-hectare ground-mounted solar system with 100MW installed capacity at the site of its previously planned coal-fired power plant in Changhua County’s Puyan Township (埔鹽).
“The project in Changhua will be Taiwan’s largest ground-mounted solar system after it is completed,” the spokesman said.
Turning the site into a solar farm is one of Taipower’s measures to optimize the 150-hectare site, after the Environmental Protection Administration in January last year rejected the utility’s proposal to build a new coal-fired power plant due to environmental concerns, Lin said.
He added that Taipower would build a step-up substation at the Changhua site to boost electricity generated from offshore wind farms along Changhua’s coast.
The company plans to allocate NT$13 billion of the budget to construct solar systems on about 300 hectares of salt evaporation ponds in Tainan, with an estimated installed capacity of 200MW, Lin said.
However, the project in Tainan has not yet been finalized, as the government is still looking for more salt farms amid environmentalists’ concern over its potential impact on black-faced spoonbills’ habitat.
The Bureau of Energy inspected several salt farms in Tainan in July last year and found about 400 hectares that Taipower could use to install 300MW of capacity, but that has since shrunk to 300 hectares because of environmental protests, he said.
Taipower is drafting the blueprint to build a power transmission and distribution system in Tainan while waiting for the government to resolve the land issue, Lin said, adding that the company hopes to begin building the transmission and distribution system at the end of this year at the latest.
Taipower is also collaborating with Taiwan Water Co (台灣自來水) to build floating solar power systems in eight reservoirs, such as Lantan Reservoir (蘭潭水庫) in Chiayi County, Lin said.
The utility is to hold bids for “green” energy enterprises to build rooftop solar power systems at 41 Taipower properties across the nation, in a bid to accelerate the installation of solar power in Taiwan, Lin said.
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