Sat, Jul 14, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Failure to build plant could mean cleaner air

By Tsuang Ben-jei 莊秉潔

There have been discussions with CPC Corp, Taiwan, about building liquefied natural gas terminals in Taoyuan’s Guantang (觀塘) and the Port of Taipei.

CPC was concerned about the financial feasibility if a terminal were also built at the Port of Taipei, as it would have no specific target to supply gas to.

An environmental impact assessment committee recently turned down the Guantang project, which is a good decision.

Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) and CPC could once again become competitors by building a terminal at the Port of Taipei to supply gas to the Datan (大潭) power plant and even the Hsieh-ho (協和) and Shenao (深澳) power plants.

This project could emulate Taiwan’s offshore wind power projects by importing foreign technology, forming a national team and allowing partial international ownership of the shares.

The decision to shut down the Guantang project could impede the government’s goal of generating 50 percent of electricity from gas by 2025.

However, that would be a good thing, as it could make northern Taiwan a cleaner place with less respiratory problems among its residents and safer energy.

The Port of Taipei boasts a large hinterland, and providing natural gas storage for more than 24 days would not be a problem.

The effect on PM2.5 concentrations of an energy structure consisting of natural gas complemented by renewable energy would only be 1.4 percent that of coal-fired power plants, and there would be no heavy metal pollution, so it would be no problem to install additional natural gas power generator units.

Once there is ample electricity, energy provision would not be an issue for northern Taiwan even with electricity-intensive businesses, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and artificial intelligence businesses.

With these businesses, students in northern Taiwan would also have high-paying job opportunities after graduation.

It would also be a good thing for residents of New Taipei City’s Bali District (八里). Although the Port of Taipei is planning the third and fourth land reclamation phases to be able to move chemical and oil storage tanks, funds and scheduling have repeatedly posed problems.

Building a natural gas terminal at the port would cost about NT$60 billion (US$1.96 billion) if it were to meet quality requirements and be completed on time.

If a gas terminal and storage tanks are built on the third and fourth phases of land reclamation, which are 2km offshore from Bali and 4km to 5km from the district’s Syun Tang Borough (訊塘里), that would offer a safety distance 10 to 25 rimes as much as required, and residents would not have to worry about the safety of natural gas storage and oil pollution.

Establishing a terminal at the port is the most beneficial plan for northern Taiwan’s energy security. It would also benefit central and southern Taiwan.

In winter, strong winds and big waves in Guantang would make it difficult for ships to approach and leave the terminal.

If gas provision is not stable by the winter of 2025 and there is heavy air pollution, that would require the old coal-fired Taichung Power Plant to be reopened, which would put an end to air pollution reduction in central and southern Taiwan and to efforts to reduce the high death rates caused by respiratory diseases in Changhua and Yunlin counties.

The Guantang project’s failure is the starting point for building a healthy and wealthy northern Taiwan and will benefit the whole country.

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