Taiwan is to start producing geothermal energy on a commercial scale for the first time in nearly 30 years tomorrow, when an Yilan County facility begins operations.
The 4.2 megawatt Cingshuei Geothermal Power Plant in Datong Township (大同) — the first privately built geothermal power plant in Taiwan — was granted commercial license by the Bureau of Energy on Oct. 27, county authorities told the Central News Agency on Tuesday.
Lin Kun-wei (林坤緯), a section head at the Yilan Business and Tourism Department, said that the facility would generate up to 3,150 kilowatts per hour, which could meet the demand of up to 10,000 households, or all households in Datong and neighboring Sansing Township (三星).
Photo courtesy of Yilan County Government via CNA
The power plant is a milestone in Taiwan’s renewable energy development, Lin said, adding that the power generated at the facility would be sold to state-run utility Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電).
The power plant is co-owned by Fabulous Power Co (結元能源開發) and Taiwan Cogeneration Corp (台灣汽電共生), and was developed by Yi Yuan Co (宜元股份), Lin said.
Construction began in 2016, with an initial investment of NT$765 million (US$27.52 million at the current exchange rate), and the plant was completed in September, Lin said.
Key equipment was imported from Nevada-based geothermal energy technology supplier Ormat Technologies Inc.
The facility is at the site of a defunct geothermal power plant run by Taipower, which closed in 1993 after irremovable deposits had accumulated in water ducts.
Yilan — which has a significant hot-spring tourism sector — has over the past few years come into experts’ focus as Taiwan’s best location for geothermal energy generation.
The new facility would generate energy using water with temperatures of about 180oC from layers 1,200m to 2,100m below ground, the county government has said, adding that after power generation, the water would be pumped back to the same depth.
The facility’s operating license is valid for 20 years, and the plant would annually pay the county about NT$2 million in fees, it said.
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