Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) yesterday said it plans to turn the mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) into a facility with multiple power generation sources as part of the government’s goal to phase out nuclear power plants by 2025.
“Our preliminary idea is to install wind, solar, natural gas-fired and coal-fired power generators at the site,” company chairman Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) told a question-and-answer session at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Economics Committee.
Yang’s statement came after Gongliao warden Wu Sheng-fu (吳勝福) on Sunday said on Facebook that Taipower employees have been communicating with residents in the district about turning the nuclear power plant into a coal-fired power plant.
Wu’s post sparked controversy, as the arrangement would go against the government’s efforts to reduce using coal as a source of power to improve the nation’s deteriorating air quality.
In response to lawmakers’ concerns, Yang said the renewable energy generators would be Taipower’s priority when renovating the plant.
However, it is possible to have coal-fired and gas-fired generators at the site to maintain the stability of the nation’s power supply, he added.
It would be easier to install coal-fired generators at the site, as Taipower could transport coal from Taipei Port (台北港), compared with building a natural gas terminal in nearby Gongliao District to feed the gas-fired power generators, Yang said.
Taipower is drafting a renovation plan for the nuclear power plant, he said, adding that it should be completed in the first half of next year.
In related news, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said the nation’s electricity rates are likely to remain unchanged at least until October next year.
“We have a fund of more than NT$80 billion [US$2.67 billion] to stabilize electricity rates,” Shen told lawmakers during the meeting. “We plan to use the fund to absorb any rising costs.”
Shen said the ministry had noticed that global crude oil and natural gas prices have been rising over the past six months, increasing Taipower’s power generation costs.
However, if the state-run utility countered rising costs by increasing electricity prices, commodity prices could be expected to grow in tandem, Shen said.
“We don’t want to see the commodity prices to go up because of this,” he said. “We will try not to let it happen.”
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