Sun, Aug 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Academics offer officials advice over power situation

By Tan Wei-cheng  /  Staff reporter

Representatives of the Chung-Hwa Nuclear Society hold a news conference in Taipei on Friday urging the government to resolve the electricity shortage with nuclear power.

Photo: Tan Wei-sheng, Taipei Times

Chung-Hwa Nuclear Society academics on Friday said that authorities should not rule out the use of nuclear energy, citing slow development of “renewable” energy solutions, despite Premier Lin Chuan (林全) saying that a restart of reactors was “impossible.”

Government offices were under Executive Yuan orders to turn off air-conditioners between 1pm and 3pm for two weeks after damage to a Ho-Ping Power Co transmission tower in Yilan County affected the nation’s power supply.

The measure was lifted early amid a public outcry.

Asking civil servants to turn off air-conditioners was not an effective solution to the power shortage, the academic group said yesterday.

The Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant’s No. 1 generator in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門) and the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant’s No. 2 generator in the city’s Wanli District (萬里) should be restarted to bolster the nation’s power supply by 6 percent, academics said.

“[The government] should face the difficulties of developing renewable energy practically, rather than setting extremely high energy policy standards wihtout a backup plan,” National Tsing Hua University professor Yeh Tsung-kuang (葉宗洸) said.

Last year, coal-fired power accounted for 39.5 percent of the nation’s electricity supply, followed by gas-fired power at 36 percent and nuclear power at 13.5 percent, the group’s data showed.

Under the nuclear-free homeland by 2025 policy, President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration hopes to increase the percentage of renewable energy from 5.1 percent to 20 percent of the nation’s power supply, increase gas-fired power to 50 percent and reduce coal-fired power to 30 percent.

However, development of renewables is slow and involves too much uncertainty, particularly regarding wind and solar power, the group said.

Wind power developers are having difficulty obtaining land, so the Bureau of Energy has reduced the planned capacity for land-based wind power by 2020 from 1,200 megawatts (MW) to 800MW, the group said.

The planned capacity for offshore wind power by 2020 is set at 520MW, but this is contingent on whether the number of offshore wind turbines can be increased to 130 by then, the group said, adding that Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) has not yet decided where offshore wind turbines will be or the capacity of electricity converting stations.

According to the bureau, solar power installations on land should reach a capacity of 17GW by 2025 and require 25,500 hectares of land, the group said, adding that the land issue has led the bureau to cut the planned capacity for all solar power installations by 2020 from 8.77GW to 6.5GW.

The nation’s hydraulic and biomass power generation are nearly saturated, with their capacities difficult to increase, while Taipower can only become increasingly dependent on coal-fired power, the group said.

However, the utility’s coal fired generators are timeworn; it will have to build another 10 coal-fired power plants and 24 generators in eight years, or it will fail to supply a capacity of 21.47GW.

To increase gas-fired power, another four large gas tanks would have to be built.

However, due to environmentalists’ protests over algae reef protection in Taoyuan, the construction of tanks is undetermined now, the group said.

The nation’s power reserve used to be set at 15 percent, but this year it has been lower than 10 percent, even declining to a new low of 1.72 percent this week, the group said.

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