Environmental groups yesterday held a small-scale hydropower system design competition in Taipei, during which Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) officials introduced their plan to promote such systems in local communities.
The contest — the second of its kind — was organized by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), the Taiwan Renewable Energy Alliance and other agencies, and was funded by the MOEA, the Ministry of Education, the Council of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Administration.
A preliminary round took place yesterday at National Taiwan University’s Hydrotech Research Institute, where 27 high-school and college teams from across the nation tested their systems at an indoor waterway.
About 11 percent of the nation’s installed power capacity, or 4.7 gigawatts, is generated from hydraulic systems, including 2.1 gigawatts from hydropower systems and 2.6 gigawatts from pumped-storage systems, Bureau of Energy Secretary-General Su Ching-sheng (蘇金勝) said at the contest’s opening ceremony.
Apart from the large-scale hydropower systems that already exist, the bureau also plans to promote smaller hydropower systems, he said, adding it has proposed a draft amendment to the Renewable Energy Development Act (再生能源發展條例) to relax regulations governing their installation.
According to the draft, ordinary people would be allowed to operate a hydropower system with a capacity of less than 20 megawatts, he said, adding the draft is being reviewed by the Legislative Yuan.
Past facilities exploiting water resources often damaged the environment, while engineers are now required to adapt such facilities to their surroundings, Water Resources Agency Deputy Director-General Wang Yi-fung (王藝峰) said, encouraging young people to use better techniques to work toward sustainable, low-carbon goals.
A team made up of six female students from Taichung’s Dajia Senior High School collected old bike wheels and empty beer cans to make waterwheels.
The contest allowed the students to explore new ideas and create things using their own hands, said team instructor Lin Chun-cheng (林郡丞), a teacher from the school’s architecture department.
Ten of the 27 teams would be selected for the final stage of the competition, which is to take place in two weeks in Nanhua Village (南華) in Hualien City’s Jian Township (吉安), where contestants are to test their systems in an irrigation ditch, TEPU chairman Liu Jyh-jian (劉志堅) said.
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