Taiwan power system fails on gas incident

16 August 2017

Half of Taiwan experienced a power outage yesterday and Minster of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung has resigned after a blunder at a large natural gas plant. Three of Taiwan's six reactors are offline due to political blocking.

Taipower had warned that the electrical grid was under stress after storm damage to transmission links combined with high demand due to hot weather, said a Ministry of Economy statement. It explained that the crisis came when control software at the Tatam power plant "issued an abnormal signal" to close an electrically operated valve and cut fuel supply to the power plant's six combined cycle gas turbines. At 4.51pm all six units tripped, removing around 4200 MWe from the grid and triggering a much wider failure.

Some 6.68 million homes and businesses were affected by the blackout, the ministry said. It took two hours to check and restart Tatam's gas units, and the blackout situation officially ended at 9.40pm. Minister Lee Chih-kung requested a review of the transmission system. Bloomberg reported that he tendered his resignation before the blackout ended.

Taiwan's power supply is dominated by coal and gas at 46% and 32%, respectively. Nuclear power plants used to provide about 16% of its electricity but the figure has dropped to around 13% in recent years with political obstruction. Kuosheng 2 remains closed following a fire in mid-2016 despite having been repaired, Chinshan 1 has been closed for two years following a fuel fault which has been rectified and Chinshan 2 has not been allowed to restart after a recent typhoon. All these units have regulatory approval to operate.

President Tasi Ing-wen apologised publicly for the blackout and repeated the government's goal to reduce nuclear power and replace it with a mixture of gas, wind and solar generation, according to Bloomberg, which said gas would meet around 50% of supply in 2025.
 
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Filed under: Politics, Energy policy