Wed, Aug 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Power-saving measure could be lifted next week

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

A government-ordered reduction of air conditioning in public buildings could be lifted after a major power plant resumes operations on Sunday, the Executive Yuan said yesterday.

The repair of a transmission tower in Yilan County for the Ho-Ping power plant, which was downed by Typhoon Nesat on July 29, would be completed by Sunday, and that could bring an end to two weeks of contingency power-saving measures in government buildings, the Executive Yuan said.

The loss of the tower reduced electricity supply by 1.3 gigawatts, or about 4 percent of operating reserves, leading the Cabinet to announce that it wanted the air conditioning in government buildings turned off between 1pm and 3pm on weekdays.

While there was speculation that the energy-conservation measure might be lifted today after a major power generator in Kaohsiung went online, Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said the Cabinet had not made a decision.

The two-hour suspension of air conditioning in government buildings could save between 200,000 kilowatts (kW) to 300,000kW of electricity, while the sudden resumption of air-conditioning could risk a power shortage, Lin said.

While a newly constructed generator at the Talin power plant in Kaohsiung, which has a 200,000kW capacity, could begin operations today, its stability is untested and it might have to be and adjusted as part of the activiation process, which is why the Cabinet is not yet ready to lift its power-saving measure, Lin said.

“If the energy conservation measure between 1pm and 3pm continues, and if the Talin plant is successfully started and contributes an additional 200,000kW of electricity, the [power] issue should be stable,” Lin said.

“We would be able to survive a crisis unless a major power generation facility malfunctions. The issue can certainly be solved next week after the transmission tower is repaired,” he said.

Asked about the operation on Monday of a diesel-fired generator at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮), Lin said the generator had only been started as part of the routine maintenance of the mothballed plant.

“The generator has little capacity to contribute. It should not be taken seriously,” Lin said, in response to speculation that the activation might pave the way to restarting idle nuclear reactors, including those at the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in Shihmen District (石門) and the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in Wanli District (萬里).

The running of the diesel generator was a routine operation to ensure its functionability, and the little electricity it produced had been sent to the national grid, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said, reiterating that there was no plan to reactivate the two idle reactors.

There should be no risk of a power shortage because active power plants are functioning well, even though the nation’s operating reserve has been at the “red level” since Monday, Hsu said.

Red is the second-highest level on Taiwan Power Co’s five-color scale.

However, the public should still try to conserve energy during peak demand hours, he said.

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