Record heat is bringing record electricity use this month, after peak electricity consumption yesterday broke all historical records, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said.
As the mercury spiked close to 39°C, Taiwan’s electricity consumption reached as high as 37.79 gigawatts (GW) at 1:59pm yesterday, higher than the previous record of 37.53GW, seen just a day prior, the state-run utility said.
The top 10 peak consumption records have all occurred in the past three years, Taipower said.
As the high temperatures are likely to continue this summer, more records might be set, it said.
However, Taipower assured people that there is so far no need to worry about electricity shortages, despite the record-breaking demand, Taipower manager Chang Ting-shu (張廷抒) said.
“Our operating reserve margin is still 10.38 percent,” Chang told the Taipei Times by telephone, referring to the company’s “green” indicator.
The operating reserve margin is the amount of additional power that can be drawn from operational power plants to meet electricity demand in case a generator goes offline.
Taipower uses a five-color warning system to reflect the stability of the nation’s power supply, with “green” denoting an operating reserve margin of 10 percent or above and suggesting that the nation has an adequate supply of electricity.
“Yellow” means that the operating reserve margin is 6 to 10 percent, while “orange” signals a reserve margin of below 6 percent, “red” indicates less than 900,000 kilowatts and “black” less than 500,000 kilowatts.
Taichung Power Plant’s controversial No. 2 coal-fired generator was yesterday running at full capacity, the company said.
“We could not have done without it [No. 2 generator],” Chang said, adding that without the generator’s contribution of 0.55GW of electricity, the operating reserve margin would have fallen below 10 percent.
The Taichung City Government late last month fined Taipower for restarting the No. 2 generator, but the fine was later revoked by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Chang credited solar power for generating 2.13GW of electricity during peak usage, when it was needed most, saying that it accounted for 5.5 percent of total peak usage yesterday.
“Of course, the hotter it gets, the more electricity we use,” he said. “Fortunately, that is also when we get the most electricity from solar power generation.”
Wind power generation is strongest in winter, he added.
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