A hydroelectric power plant in a remote mountainous area in Hualien County formally opened on Saturday, 15 years after it was first approved for construction.
The 61,200 kilowatt Pihai plant is located in a pristine forest on the upper reaches of the Hoping River in Hoping Village (和平), Sioulin Township (秀林).
The inaccessible site meant all the equipment had to be ferried in by helicopters, while construction workers often had to install wooden bridges or ladders to reach the site through the steep terrain.
The plant is expected to generate about 237 million -kilowatt hours (kwh) of electricity a year, enough to power 65,000 households, and was necessary to help Taiwan meet its clean power needs, an economic ministry official said.
“Taiwan lacks self-produced energy, and every kwh of electricity does not come easily. Hydroelectric power is a rare energy source that Taiwan can use maturely,” Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Sheng-chung (林聖忠) said at the plant’s opening ceremony. “The Pihai hydroelectric power plant will be a model for the government to push for environmentally friendly renewable energy.”
Edward Chen (陳貴明), the chairman of state-owned utility Taiwan Power Co (Taipower), said the Pihai facility was the most difficult to build out of the more than 40 hydroelectric power plants his company operates.
“Taipower will follow the government’s new energy policy to raise the ratio of renewable energy. It will take into consideration environmental protection and power generation, and provide stable and clean electricity,” Chen said.
Taipower estimates that the new plant will eliminate the generation of 122,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.