The Taichung City Government again fined the Taichung Power Plant NT$6 million (US$197,909) after it failed to stop using raw coal for power generation, the city said yesterday, but the plant’s owner disputes the rules.
The nation’s largest coal-fired plant was fined NT$3 million by the city on Nov. 3 for exceeding the maximum coal use of 11.04 million tonnes permitted for the year with a warning that it must “make improvements” within 10 days or face additional fines, the city said.
As of Nov. 30, the plant had used 11.13 million tonnes of coal and is continuing to do so, despite warnings, it said, adding that the plant, operated by state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower), has until Dec. 23 to make improvements or face further punishments.
Taipower yesterday said the fine was unreasonable and unlawful, adding that it would seek administrative relief if the city continues to impose fines.
The company said it did not exceed the legal limit, as a permit issued by the city in 2017 allowed the plant to burn up to 16 million tonnes of coal a year.
That permit, issued by then-Taichung mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) of the Democratic Progressive Party, limited the plant’s coal consumption for this year to 13 million tonnes.
However, after the election last year of Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), a new annual limit of 11.04 million tonnes was set to quell a public outcry that claimed the plant was the main source of air pollution in the city.
The new limit was decided by the city government on Sept. 20 this year, and a notice of the change sent to the power plant one month later.
Taipower said in a statement that the city government had given it insufficient time to make the necessary adjustments to operations.
The company said it is doing everything possible to meet the expectations of local residents by helping improve the city’s air quality through the reduction of coal burning, but the maintenance of a stable electricity supply is also an important consideration.
In October, Taipower said that it was considering appealing NT$60 million in fines from the city for discharging wastewater with high levels of boron.
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