Geothermal power set for new commercial beginning in Taiwan

Taiwan will start producing geothermal power on a commercial scale for the first time in nearly 30 years on Nov. 23 when an Yilan County facility begins operations.

The 4.2 megawatt (MW) Cingshuei Geothermal Power Plant, the first privately built geothermal power plant in Taiwan, is ready to launch commercial operations after being granted a commercial license last month, county authorities said Tuesday.

Speaking with CNA, Lin Kun-wei (???), a section chief with the county's Business and Tourism Department, said the geothermal power plant will be able to generate 3,150 kilowatts per hour, which can meet the demand of 10,000 small-sized households.

The number of households is equal to the combined households in Datong Township, where the power plant is located, and the neighboring Sanxing Township, according to the county government.

The power will be channeled and sold to state-run utility Taiwan Power Co.

Describing the project as a milestone in Taiwan's renewable energy development, Lin said the power plant is co-owned by Fabulous Power Co. and Taiwan Cogeneration Corp. and was developed by Yi Yuan Co.

Construction began in 2016 with an initial investment of NT$765 million (US$27.52 million), and the power plant was completed in September before securing a license from the Bureau of Energy on Oct. 27.

Key equipment used in the plant has been imported from Nevada-based geothermal energy technology supplier Ormat Technologies Inc., local media reported recently.

The power plant has been built in the same location where its predecessor, operated by Taipower, was closed in 1993 due to the blockage of water ducts from the accumulation of substances in the water, and the land had sat idle until work on the new plant began.

Yilan County is well known for its hot springs and has been considered the best location in Taiwan for developing geothermal energy.

According to the county government, the new power plant will extract water of about 180 degrees Celsius from 1,200 meters to 2,100 meters underground and then run it through a heat exchanger to generate power.

The used hot water will be pumped back into the ground so that it can be used again.

The developer of the new power plant was granted the right to run the plant for 20 years, and Yilan County will receive about NT$2 million a year for the rights to develop the site from the power producer.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel