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In Line with EPA's Policy to Reduce Air Pollution, Ministry of Economic Affairs Strives for Reduction of Emissions of Air Pollutants through Reduction of Thermal Power Plant Output, Pollution Preventive Measures, and Energy Transition.
Organization: Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs        Publish Date: 2018-12-12 10:33
Due to bad atmospheric diffusion conditions over the last few days, western Taiwan has suffered from bad air quality. Coal-fired power plants are suspected as the main cause of air pollution; however, according to the public information on domestic sources of PM2.5 in Taiwan published by EPA, mobile source pollution account for 30% to 37%, industrial pollution (excluding power plants) account for 17% to 26%, other pollution sources (such as construction, dust, and open burning) account for 32% to 43%, and power plants only account for 4.5% to 9.9%. The above data do not take into consideration the effect of transboundary pollution; if transboundary pollutants were taken into consideration, the influence of power plants would then be further reduced.

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, based on its observation on seasonal outputs of power plants, coal-fired power plants have higher outputs during peak periods in summer. Using Taichung Power Plant and Hsinta Power Plant as examples, August 1st was the highest peak load day of 2018, and the power outputs were 128.4 million kWh and 48.1 million kWh respectively; however, during fall and winter, the demand decreases, and yesterday (November 7th), the outputs of Taichung Power Plant and Hsinta Power Plant were reduced to 88.99 million kWh and 40 million kWh respectively. The outputs were 27% less compared to August 1st. However, atmospheric diffusion conditions are not good during fall and winter, and air quality continues to worsen. This shows that coal-fired power plants are not necessarily the main cause of bad air quality.

There are diverse sources of air pollution, and therefore, it is everyone's responsibility to improve Taiwan's air quality. All the power plants are aware of this responsibility and are fully dedicated to achieving the goals. The Ministry of Economic Affairs is fully cooperating with EPA's policy of reduction of air pollution by reducing the outputs of thermal power plants, taking pollution preventive measures, and launching energy transition, in order to reduce the emissions of air pollutants. The ministry is fully committed to do its part for the improvement of air quality in Taiwan.

Regarding short-term actions, Taipower has installed the continuous emission monitoring system on all chimneys to enhance air pollution monitoring and strengthen control. Monitored data will be immediately sent to municipal environmental protection bureaus for oversight. Through increased transparency, Taipower aims to ensure that emissions of air pollutants meet the standards. Also, during periods of bad air quality, or in areas of bad air quality, Taipower will reduce outputs and emissions. From October 29, 2018, to the time of this press release, Taipower has reduced outputs at power plants 53 times, among which 21 times took place at Taichung Power Plant, 28 at Hsinta, and 4 at Hsieh-Ho Power Plant, and reduced 73.03 tons of NOx, 79.96 tons of SOx, and 5.90 tons of PM, making great contributions to the improvement of air quality.

As for mid- to long-term plans, the ministry is accelerating renewal and replacement of coal-fired power plants, and has demanded new or expanded power plants to be equipped with the best feasible technology; using ultra-supercritical high-efficiency generator can achieve highest efficiency of 45% (existing coal-fired generators average 38% efficiency), which can effectively reduce air pollution and carbon emissions. Also, Taipower will invest approximately 47.7 billion NTD to enhance the performances of power plants' air pollution preventive facilities, including implementation of power plant air pollution improvement plans at Tatan, Taichung, Hsinta, Dalin, and Nan-Pu, construction of indoor coal storage yard at Taichung Power Plant, and switching to oil with lower sulfur content by oil-fired power plants. Taipower estimates that in 2025, it can reduce 8,192 tons of NOx, 2,503 tons of SOx, and 151 tons of PM from the level of 2017, and lower emissions of air pollutants from 100,000 tons to 65,000 tons, improving air quality by 35%, and effectively lower the environmental impact of thermal power plants' emissions of air pollutants.

As for the government's promotion of energy transition, from 2016 to 2017, installed capacity of solar PV increased by 816 MW in two years, which was equivalent to the increase over eight years from 2008 to 2015. The government is confident in achieving the goal of 20 GW by 2025. Regarding offshore wind power, the installed capacity will increase to 5.5 GW over the six-year period from 2020 to 2025, and by that time, the output of thermal power plants can be reduced in fall and winter to cope with the situation of bad atmospheric diffusion conditions in Taiwan that easily leads to bad regional air quality. All these measures will help to improve Taiwan's air quality.

Lastly, Ministry of Economic Affairs stresses that the government's energy transition plan is headed in the direction of clean energy, which includes denuclearization, lowering the use of coal, increasing the use of gas, and developing green energy. In addition to actively increase the use of renewable energy, which produces no emissions and does not result in air pollution, the government will also continue to take measures, such as improvement of air pollution prevention equipment and renewal and replacement of outdated generators, to reduce the emissions of air pollutants. Facing the coming seasons that are prone to bad air quality, the ministry will oversee Taipower to properly comply with EPA's air pollution control mechanism, and adopt various measures simultaneously to reduce air pollution, to protect the general public's right to breathe healthy and clean air and achieve the goal of air quality improvement.

Spokesperson of Bureau of Energy: Deputy Director-General Chun-Li Lee
Phone Number: 02-2775-7660  
Mobile: 0936-250-838
Email: chunlee@moeaboe.gov.tw

Business Contact: Director, Chih-Wei Wu
Phone Number: 02-2775-7750
Mobile: 0922-339-410
Email: cwwu@moeaboe.gov.tw

Media Contact: Section Chief, Yu-Hsuah Hsia
Phone Number: 02-2775-7705
Mobile: 0910-668-295
Email: yhhsia@moeaboe.gov.tw
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