The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday reiterated the necessity of rebuilding the coal-fired Shenao Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), while Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) restarted the No. 2 reactor at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant.
“Without rebuilding the Shenao plant, the nation’s operating reserve margin would be 14.9 percent by 2025, less than the required 15 percent,” Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) told a news conference.
More importantly, there would be an imbalance in regional power supply, as the power plants in southern Taiwan would have to supply electricity to the north without the support of the Shenao plant, Shen said.
The minister’s remarks came as Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Deputy Minister Chan Shun-kuei (詹順貴) said he would not sign off on the passage of the Shenao plant’s environmental impact assessment if the ministry does not clearly explain its necessity.
The reason the plant would use coal instead of natural gas is mainly because of limited natural gas storage space in the area, Shen said.
In addition, the installation of underwater natural gas pipes could negatively affect marine life, while land pipes would pass through densely populated regions in the municipality, Shen said.
Taipower has pledged to install ultra-supercritical coal-fired generators and aims to reduce sulfur oxide and nitric oxide emissions, he said.
Meanwhile, Taipower gave the order to restart the No. 2 reactor at the Guosheng plant in New Taipei’s Wanli District (萬里) yesterday, a day after receiving official written approval from the Atomic Energy Council.
The process to get the reactor running at full capacity would take nine days, with the first five days dedicated to reconnecting circuits and the next four to boosting generating capacity, Taipower chairman Yang Wei-fuu (楊偉甫) said.
A fully operational second reactor would give Taipower more flexibility in supplying power starting next month, Yang said, with Shen adding that it would boost the operating reserve margin by 3 percent.
As summer approaches, Taipower would try to keep its operating reserve margin at 6 percent or more to accommodate an expected increase in electricity use, Yang said.
The operating reserve fell below 2 percent at times in August last year, leaving the nation vulnerable to plant breakdowns and power shortages.
Additional reporting by CNA
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