The Yunlin County Government on Sunday backed a central government plan to have an undersea power cable from Penghu County run above ground in Kouhu Township (口湖), despite protests by area residents.
During a visit to a wind power park in Penghu on Saturday, Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said that the Cabinet would help coordinate between Kouhu residents and state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) to address residents’ concerns.
The county government on Sunday said that it supported the central government’s policy of developing renewable energy and that it hoped the power line between Penghu and Taiwan proper could be connected.
The project, launched by the administration of former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), was designed to have a power line run between Penghu and Yunlin to balance power usage between the outlying island and Taiwan proper.
The goal was to generate wind power in Penghu and transmit excess power to Taiwan proper in the winter, when winds are normally strong, and have electricity generated in Taiwan proper transmitted to Penghu in the summer, when electricity usage there reaches its peak.
The undersea portion of the 66.32km project has been completed, but above-ground construction on the NT$14.6 billion (US$452.6 million at current exchange rates) power line has yet to begin in either Penghu or Yunlin.
Kouhu residents have objected to the project because of fears about adverse health effects from electromagnetic fields emitted by the cables or a transformer to be installed in the village.
In an effort to reflect those concerns, the county government has urged the central government to safeguard the environment and human heath as it develops renewable energy.
The residents’ main request was that the transmission line and a planned station to cool cables before electricity is redistributed be relocated to an area north of their planned location, which is only 238m from an elementary school.
However, Taipower has rejected the demand, citing relocation work that could delay completion of the project, the county government said.
Taipower has argued that it has made concessions by revising its plan to build a new transformer near the elementary school, instead building a cooling system in an existing transformer.
Kouhu residents also said that Taipower did not come up with a reasonable compensation mechanism and offer funds to the locality to have the transmission line run through the community.
The county government said it was willing to play a mediating role to help the two parties settle their disputes.
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