The Cabinet yesterday defended a controversial plan to reactivate the coal-fired Shenao Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), saying the clean coal technology to be employed could help lessen the environmental impact of the plant.
State-run Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower) plan to “restart and upgrade” the plant, which was decommissioned in 2007 and torn down, was approved on Wednesday last week. The planned use of coal-fired generators has sparked environmental concern, although the Taipower has proposed using ultra-supercritical power generation technology to reduce emissions.
Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said that “clean coal technology” is an academic term describing coal-fired power generation technologies with lower harmful emissions levels comparable to those of natural gas-fired power plants.
“The coal to be used at power plants is sifted and washed to remove pollutants before being burnt,” Hsu said. “It is how clean coal is produced.”
Even Germany, where renewable energy makes up 30 percent of all power generation, still uses coal-fired power stations, Hsu said, calling on the public to examine the Shenao plant proposal “with scientific rigor.”
While reaffirming the government’s objectives to phase out nuclear power and raise the percentage of renewable energy to 20 percent by 2025, Hsu said the reactivation of the Shenao plant would be necessary to ensure stability of power supply until renewable power generation picks up.
Northern Taiwan consumes about 40 percent of Taiwan’s electricity and the area could face power shortages following the decommissioning of Hsieh-ho Power Plant in Keelung, and Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant and Kuosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City, Premier William Lai (賴清德) said.
“The best option... is to equip the [Shenao] plant with the most advanced facilities and pollution prevention equipment while using the most efficient coal technologies,” Lai said.
The coal-fired Linkou Power Plant in New Taipei City and the Dalin Power Plant in Kaohsiung are each fitted with advanced pollutant capture equipment, and two sets of the same equipment would be installed at the Shenao plant to reduce emissions, the Cabinet said.
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