Fri, Aug 04, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Taipower to improve electricity towers

WEAKEST LINK:The vulnerability of the electricity net was illustrated last week, when the Ho-Ping power plant in Hualien suffered damage after bad weather felled a tower

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Cement Corp chairman Nelson Chang, front, yesterday inspects a transmission tower of Ho-Ping Power Co that collapsed on Saturday due to strong winds brought by Typhoon Nesat in Yilan County’s Dongao area. Ho-Ping Power is a subsidiary of Taiwan Cement.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Cement Corp

State-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) is to increase the number of electrical circuits on transmission towers to improve the durability of the nation’s power grid, Minister of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung (李世光) said yesterday.

The improvement is part of a slew of measures being taken to protect the nation’s power facilities from natural disasters, he said.

“The power grid’s exposure risk is greater than that of power plants during natural disasters... We have asked Taipower to propose improvement plans,” Lee told reporters before the Ministry of Economic Affair’s weekly meeting.

The majority of the power supply warnings issued by Taipower since the 921 Earthquake in 1999 were caused by disruptions to the power grid rather than problems with power generaton, Lee said.

Almost all of the transmission towers in the nation are equipped with one electrical circuit each, which makes the power grid vulnerable to external forces, Taipower said.

The company has yet to decide whether to add electrical circuits to all towers or select a few areas to improve the power grid, as the plan involves a large investment, Lee said.

Adding new circuits to high-voltage towers might require personnel to work in the mountains and traverse national parks, which adds to operational difficulties, he added.

Increasing the electricity contribution from renewable sources is one of several measures to spread risk, as “green” energy facilities supply power to a smaller number of users in a designated area, which makes the power grid more resilient as transmission lines are shorter, Lee said.

The ministry’s priority is to restore the power supply from the privately-run Ho-Ping Power Co (和平電力), after a transmission tower in Yilan County collapsed on Saturday due to severe weather brought by Typhoon Nesat, Lee said.

The ministry aims to enhance the power transmission infrastructure there, he said.

Taipower finished building temporary power lines yesterday and sent equipment to the Dongao (東澳) area to repair the tower, Lee said, adding that the company would build a double-circuit temporary transmission tower instead of a single-circuit tower.

Ho-Ping Power is inspecting the condition of the power generators at the plant, as they might have been damaged when power transmission was abruptly cut while they were working at full capacity, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) said.

The ministry estimates that Ho-Ping Power will resume electricity generation on Sunday next week at the earliest, Yang said.

The power plant generates 1.3 million kilowatts, or about 4 percent of the nation’s operating reserve margin. It mainly supplies power to northern Taiwan.

The nation’s operating reserve margin is estimated to drop to 4.43 percent today, which means power supply remains tight, Taipower data showed.

The margin is expected to fall to 2.41 percent on Wednesday and Thursday, meaning it will be lower than 900,000 kilowatts, Taipower said.

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