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Gas power plants could be transformed into low-carbon energy parks: Taipower

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Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng.

Power plants in Taiwan could be turned into energy parks that use decarbonization technology to help Taiwan produce electricity more efficiently, a Ministry of Economic Affairs official said Friday.

Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng (曾文生), who doubles as chairman of Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), said during a seminar about electricity that the power industry must improve on automation, digitalization and availability (the amount of time equipment is available for production) to meet the needs of an electrified society.

An electrified society requires the use of electricity in a more efficient manner and will test Taipower's ability to employ a wider variety of energy sources to produce, transmit and distribute power, Tseng said.

The hurdle of integrating new power sources into the existing power grid will increase because the country is working toward using more green energy, he said, adding that enhanced techniques would be needed to meet challenges such as fault current, voltage conversion and the setting up of electrical substations.

With the country expected to use more and more green energy (and with its characteristic of generating power intermittently), the company expects by the Lunar New Year in 2030, for example, there could be periods in which the amount of power generated will exceed overall demand (because factory activity generally is lower during holidays), Tseng said, pointing out the importance of developing a plan to ensure electricity isn't wasted.

Taiwan aims to generate 50 percent of its electricity with natural gas in 2030, followed by renewable energy at 27-30 percent, and coal at 20 percent.

Energy storage systems or using wind power to produce hydrogen could be two ways to meet the challenge of excess power production, he added.

"Low carbon energy parks" is an idea that the company has proposed for future natural-gas-based power plants, incorporating both existing gas-fired generator sets and wind power and new technologies such as hydrogen-producing stations and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Tseng said power plants in Taichung, Miaoli's Tunghsiao, and Taoyuan's Datan -- all located near offshore wind power farms -- would be likely pilot project candidates.

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