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Taiwan’s electricity demand to fall over 10-day holiday

Taipower says renewables will be 30% of energy supply during low-demand period

Onshore wind turbine. (Taipower photo)

Onshore wind turbine. (Taipower photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — This year's Lunar New Year holiday will stretch for 10 days with most schools, factories, and offices on break, giving Taiwan’s power grid an opportunity to reset, with more supply coming from renewable sources, according to Chinatimes.

Less demand is leading Taipower to predict the penetration rate of green energy (wind and solar) could potentially hit 30% of demand for the first time. Taipower expects this milestone to occur on the second day of the Lunar New Year.

Taipower added that lower electrical demand could potentially come with risks of a 10% increase in electrical voltage as it is calling upon citizens to unplug unused power outlets at home during the Lunar New Year Holiday. This is not only useful for fire safety prevention but also damaging overheating of older electrical appliances.

Taipower spokesman Wu Chin-chung (吳進忠) pointed out that the estimated electricity consumption during the Lunar New Year holiday could be down 17.5 million kilowatts from peak usage.

With less demand for power, wind and solar sources will provide some 6 million kilowatts with the penetration rate accounting for 30% of the total power generation around noontime.

Wu urged the public to unplug unnecessary appliances if they are traveling over the 10-day holiday. He urged factory owners to do the same if their facilities are idle over the extended holiday break. Citizens are also urged to look out for overheating if extension cords and power cables are used for too long at a higher voltage. This could lead to a fire safety risk as cords can overheat and fail.

Wu said Taipower's simulation predicted upstream ultra-high voltage 345KV lines may rise to more than 375KV, and the company will actively seek to control voltage below 360KV through step-down methods.

However, for households, the typical 110 voltage used by most appliances and most electrical cords may still amp up to 120 or even 130 volts, as the public needs to pay special attention during this period of local electricity consumption.

Furthermore, Wu said the increase in voltage over Lunar New Year is not associated with greater reliance on wind and solar energy, but more to do with decreasing electrical demand which is aided by cooler temperatures, less reliance upon air-conditioning systems, and less industrial demand over the holiday period.