Can Taiwan maintain reliable – and affordable – electricity prices even as it slashes greenhouse gas emissions?
The News Lens
By: Timothy Ferry
Among the extensive data available on the website of the Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) – the state-
owned monopoly responsible for power generation, transmission, and distribution – is a 24-hour chart showing the amount of electricity being generated by the network of Taipower’s own power plants plus those of Independent Power Producers (IPP). Updated every 15 minutes, the chart details how much power is being generated from each type of fuel source.
Broad stripes across the bottom two-thirds of the chart vary little by time of day. They represent Taiwan’s baseload capacity – the power that remains on all the time, 365 days a year, to meet the minimal power demand – from such sources as nuclear, coal, and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Above these steady swaths are rising and falling bands representing the contributors to non-baseload power that is turned on to meet the peak-power demands of society. These sources include LNG-, oil- and diesel-fired “peaking plants” and pumped-storage hydropower, as well intermittent renewables such as wind and solar power.
This chart illustrates the challenge Taiwan’s new government faces as it embarks on its ambitious plan to phase out nuclear power, which currently generates roughly 16% of Taiwan’s electricity, while expanding renewables’ contribution from today’s 3% of power generation to 20%, both by 2025. Nuclear power generation hardly varies at all across days or weeks, while renewable energies generate at high volume when conditions are right, such as when the sun is shining or the wind blowing, but then fade to zero when conditions are unfavorable. [FULL STORY]