Ban on coal, petroleum coke to impact power supply: minister
The plan by the governments of six counties and cities in central and southern areas of Taiwan to ban the burning of bituminous coal and petroleum coke at local factories and power plants has sparked worry over a drop in power supply and its effect on the country’s industrial development.
Minister of Economic Affairs John Deng ( ) warned during a hearing of the legislative Economics Committee on Wednesday that if the burning of coal and petcoke is prohibited countrywide, both the industrial development and the output of power plants will be impacted.
He knows that “the locals wish for clean air, but people should try harder to raise the environmental protection standards of upstream industries, instead of completely banning the use of what everyone needs.”
Banning the burning of coal will greatly affect the power supply by the coal-fired Taichung Power Plant, whose installed capacity accounts for 20 percent of the total controlled by state-run Taiwan Power Co. ( ), according to Deng. The ban was initiated by the Yunlin County government, backed by Chiayi City, Tainan City, Changhua County, Taichung City and Chiayi County, in an effort to stem serious pollution levels caused by large quantities of PM 2.5 particulates in the air, which are highly harmful to human health.
Kuomintang lawmaker Huang Chao- shun ( ) asked the central government to formulate stricter air pollution standards because “it is not unreasonable at all for people to make such a demand.”
And it is better for the central government to draft the law, she noted.
In the six counties and cities that plan to ban the burning of coal and petcoke with local regulations, the installed capacity of their combined coal- fired electricity generators totals 11,051 megawatts (MW), accounting for 22.8 percent of the total installed capacity of the country.
It was estimated that the net peak power supply capacity of the generators in the six counties and cities was 10,388 MW, accounting for 25.8 percent of the nationwide peak load.
Since the reserve margin has been lowered to 14.7 percent in 2014, if the burning of coal and petcoke is banned outright, the coal-fired power plants and cogeneration power plants in central and southern Taiwan would have to cease operations, leading to a shortage of power supply, the Bureau of Energy under the Ministry of Economic Affairs said.
Such a ban will lead the country into an immediate power crisis with serious outages and strict rationing, the bureau warned.