Power supply will not flash red, despite machine glitch: Taipower

Taipei--The electricity supply in Taiwan is not expected to enter a red-alert status Friday, despite a machinery problem that caused one of the Taichung Power Plant's generators to trip earlier in the day, state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) said.

The No. 7 generator of the coal-fired plant tripped at 9:25 a.m. because of low vacuity of the steam condenser system, which triggered the machine's safety protection mechanism, according to Taipower spokesman Lin Te-fu (???).

The suspension cut the power supply by 500,000 kilowatts for Friday, Lin said, but the glitch was repaired and the affected generator was restarted at 12:35 p.m., he noted.

As a result, the power supply was not expected to flash a red light -- which signals operating reserve margins of below 900,000 kW -- for the day, Lin said in response to reporters' questions as to whether the country would have to prepare for electricity rationing that day.

Taiwan has been fearing a power rationing crisis since Typhoon Nesat and Tropical Storm Haitang brought down a transmission tower, operated by the independent power producer Ho-Ping Power Co. in Hualien County, last weekend.

The incident has reduced supply by 1.3 million kW, forcing the central government to take the unusual response measure on Monday of telling the public sector to shut down all its air conditioners in its offices from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. every workday for a two-week period.

The provisional measure was aimed at preventing the country from entering a red light alert for electricity insufficiency, according to the Executive Yuan, the top administration body of the country.

Under Taipower's five-color electricity consumption warning system, a green light means operating reserve margins are above 10 percent, a yellow light represents power reserves of between 10 percent and 6 percent, while an orange light indicates that the reserves are below 6 percent.

A red alert means that the power reserves have dropped below 900,000 kW, while a black alert shows that reserves have fallen to less than 500,000 kW, making power rationing necessary.

According to the latest Taipower data, at 4:20 p.m. Friday, the operating reserve margin reached 4.14 percent of capacity, flashing orange.

Worried that power insufficiencies could become more and frequent in the future, opposition Kuomintang Legislator Tseng Ming-chung (???), a caucus whip, urged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-dominated government to propose efficient energy policies.

If the government wants to make Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025, it needs to increase the proportion of electricity generated by green energy to 20 percent, Tseng said.

To achieve that goal, there must be at least 25,000 hectares of land in Taiwan taken up by solar farms, while the current scale of solar farms is a mere 16,000 hectares, he noted, citing an assessment by the Legislative Yuan's Budget Center.

In response, DPP legislative caucus whip Lee Chun-yi (???) argued that since 1997, it has been the inefficient power transmission and distribution that has dragged the country into an electricity rationing crisis.

Lee accused the previous Ma Ying-jeou (???) administration of being "unwilling" to resolve the problem during its eight-year term, despite being offered plenty of solutions.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel