Taipei, April 7 (CNA) With temperatures expected to rise in April, power consumption in Taiwan is forecast to be tight, according to state-own Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower).
In addition to the warm weather, the sudden shutdown of the second reactor of the country's No. 2 nuclear power plant located in New Taipei City one day after resuming operations and the annual maintenance of the first reactor of the No. 3 nuclear power plant located in Pingtung County are expected to make the situation worse and create even more challenges to Taipower, the power supplier said.
Although the number of working days in April has been cut short due to the five-day Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday, which will end on Sunday, Taipower remained cautious about the power supply for the month due to higher consumption and a decline in supply in the two nuclear power plants.
As a result, Taipower has forecast that the operating reserve margin -- the percentage of total generating capacity available above peak demand conditions -- will stand at 5.2 percent in mid-April and 5.53 percent in late April, a relatively low level that will trigger an orange alert.
Under Taipower's electricity warning system, when an operating reserve margin stays above 10 percent, the power supply flashes a healthy green light. But an orange alert flashes when the power reserve falls below 6 percent, while a red alert signals that it has dropped to less than 900,000 kW, and a black alert means it has fallen to less than 500,000 kW, necessitating power rationing.
Power supply for April have been squeezed because two reactors are not operational, Taipower said.
The second reactor of the No. 2 nuclear power plant was automatically shut down because of possible pressure problems on March 28, just one day after it became operational. Since there is no timetable for the reactor to restart operations, power supply is unlikely to grow any time soon.
According to Taipower data, the electricity the No. 2 nuclear power plant generated accounted for 7.84 percent of the total in 2014.
Due to its annual maintenance, the first reactor of the No. 3 nuclear power plant has also stopped operating since April 3, and the shutdown will continue until May 17.
But Taipower said the first reactor of the No. 3 power plant is scheduled to resume operations in May and the second generator of the coal-powered Dalin Power Plant in Kaohsiung, which has started trial operations in February, will run at full capacity by the end of April. That means Taipower's operating reserve margin is expected to rise and return to the safer 6 percent level beginning in May, it said.
Since Taiwan's economy remains on the path to recovery with growth expected at 2.29 percent in 2018 and the weather is expected to stay warm, power sales of Taipower for the year are expected to rise 0.7 percent from 2017 with the peak electricity consumption forecast to top 37 million kilowatts, according to the power supplier.