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May 29, 2017

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High heat strains Taipower's energy efficiency

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- State-run energy company Taipower (台電) yesterday stated that its production efficiency is hampered across all its facilities throughout Taiwan under the strain of the summer heat.

With the temperature in Taipei reaching 37.6 degrees Celsius, the hottest seen thus far in the summer season, Taipower yesterday reported that the company's efficiency in energy generation was hampered by as much as 4 percent, or 550 MW to 600 MW, roughly equivalent to the output of a single coal-powered steam turbine at the Taichung Power Plant, one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the world.

The company explained that high heat conditions impact the energy production efficiency of both coal-fired and nuclear power plants. High heat conditions will decrease the density of natural gas, reducing the efficiency of fossil-fuel power plants by 4 percent, said the company, adding that the higher sea water temperatures during the summer season also hamper the capabilities of water cooling systems used in nuclear power plants. The company noted that as a result, they were compelled to ease up the workload assigned to nuclear power plants by 1 percent during peak hours of energy consumption.

In contrast, a number of independent power producers (IPP) contracted by Taipower use air cooling systems in their fossil fuel power plants, limiting the impact of high heat conditions to 1 or 2 percent of total energy output.

On July 7 Taiwan's energy consumption peaked at 3,485.73 MW, leaving a margin of 222.35 MW to spare relative to the nation's total energy production output, with the same figure reaching 3,436.19 MW last year.

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