Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng (曾文生) yesterday condemned the Taichung City Government for sanctioning Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) for restarting the No. 2 generator at the Taichung Power Plant.
Voicing the ministry’s support for the state-run utility, Tseng accused local authorities of political maneuvering.
“The Taichung City Government has been on Taipower’s case since last year... They are only setting up more and more obstacles to prevent Taipower from ensuring a steady energy supply for the nation,” Tseng told a news conference in Taipei.
Photo: Huang Pei-chun, Taipei Times
After imposing multiple fines on Taipower due to excessive coal use, the city government last year revoked two of the company’s operating licenses for the No. 2 and No. 3 generators at the plant, a move that was later countermanded by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).
The city government last week fined Taipower NT$2 million (US$67,431) for restarting the No. 2 generator, followed by a heavier NT$20 million fine on Monday, while the Taichung Environmental Protection Bureau yesterday threatened to take legal action against Taipower chairman Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫).
“The operation of Taipower’s No. 2 generator is completely legal in the eyes of the law [following the EPA’s ruling]... Furthermore, the No. 2 generator and No. 3 generator are the least-polluting generators at the Taichung Power Plant due to recent improvements,” Tseng said.
The city government’s actions are far from helpful in the reduction of air pollution in central Taiwan, he added.
Asked whether Taipower would be willing to negotiate the shutdown of other generators instead, Tseng gave a firm “no.”
“The point is flexibility, we need [to be able to operate] all 10 generators to guarantee this kind of flexibility,” Tseng said, adding that Taipower has promised to simultaneously run a maximum of nine generators during summer.
“While we can only have eight to nine generators working at the same time, we must have [enough] leg room to maintain a 10 percent power reserve,” Taipower vice president and spokesman Hsu Tsao-hua (徐造華) said, adding that the increasing energy consumption in Taichung should also be taken into consideration.
“Taichung has consumed an average of 31,500 gigawatt-hours last year, higher than the Taichung Power Plant’s annual output of 30,000 gigawatt-hours,” Hsu said.
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