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Taichung scraps permits for Taichung Power Plant generators for excessive coal consumption

Scholars warn shutting down 2 power plant generators could result in higher electrical bills for Taiwanese

Permits for generators at Taichung Power Plant revoked by city government.

Permits for generators at Taichung Power Plant revoked by city government. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taichung Power Plant was issued its third hefty fine on Wednesday (Dec. 25) as the city government announced the revocation of coal-use permits for two of its generators, which will not be allowed to be operate from Jan. 1.

According to the Taichung Autonomous Act for Coal Regulation, the Taichung City Government will not issue new permits for the two offending generators. The city government said that the plant, which is operated by state-owned Taiwan Power Company (Taipower, 台電), had failed to stop using raw coal for power generation, continuing to violate the city's air pollution regulations even after two warnings.

Taipower was fined NT$3 million (US$10,000) on Nov. 27 for consuming more coal than is legally permitted and another NT$6 million on Dec. 14 for failing to make improvements. After another inspection on Monday (Dec. 23) found the fossil fuel power plant's annual coal consumption still exceeded the limit set by the government, it was consequently punished, reported CNA.

Taipower President Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) said at a press conference on Wednesday that the Taichung Power Plant had reduced its use of raw coal and that it has halved its coal consumption since 2012. However, he said that Taipower will respect the government's decision and emphasized that Taiwan's electricity supply should be unaffected until next summer.

Some Taiwanese scholars have weighed in on the matter and warned that shutting down the generators would have a negative impact. Tsuang Ben-jei (莊秉潔), professor of Environmental Engineering at National Chung Hsing University, said that Taiwan's electrical grid will be less flexible without the two generators and that the electricity shortage could be reflected in higher electricity bills for Taiwanese citizens.