Four referendums failed to pass in Taiwan on December 18, 2021. This means that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant will not be re-activated, sparking heated debates on whether Taiwan is generating enough of energy.
The construction of natural gas underlines the necessity of alternatives to fill up shortages left by nuclear power sources. Taiwan’s electricity consumption kept setting record highs in recent years, averagely increasing by 2.5% each year from 2021 to 2027, as estimated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. For now, the government is developing renewables proactively to meet rising electricity demand and replace traditional power sources, aiming to raise renewable capacity to 20% in the energy mix by 2025.
To tackle energy issues, developing renewables is a road must be taken. However, it’s not an overnight thing to move from coal-firing and fossil fuel energies to renewable energies. Therefore, transitional power sources are imperative, so as reducing coal-firing and raising natural gas electricity generation, which the government has pledged to do. On the journey to net-zero emission, countries (regions) must, with regional, economic considerations and assessing electricity demand, find out the best corresponding measures.
The intermittence and unpredictability of renewable energies resulted in a “duck curve,” as the peak of electricity generation and consumption are staggered, overloading the grid and affecting the stability of power supply. This is where energy storage system (ESS) comes to rescue, providing ancillary services, minimizing damages to the grid, and extending its lifespan. Taiwan’s Energy Trading Platform has been available since November 15, 2021, providing ancillary services spanning regulation service, spinning reserve service, and supplement reserve service.
The integration with ESS realizes stable electricity grids, time-shift, and efficient emergency response. The outage of Luo Yang coal-firing unit in South Australia back in 2017 will be the most iconic, during which Tesla’s 100 MW/129 MWh energy storage plant, Powerpack, promptly initiated fast response reserve service within 0.14 seconds, providing 100 MW of electricity, slowing down the fall of frequency, successfully preventing financial losses, and illustrating how much energy storage can benefit electricity grids.
As of 2021, 10% of daytime energy in Taiwan came from renewables, with 20 MW of energy storage capacity. If electricity share of renewables increases, more than 20% of energy during the daytime is expected to be clean energy by 2025, entailing more urgent need for ESS to supplement for off-peak hours. Presently, Taipower plans to install 1,000 MW of energy storage, 160 MW by itself, and the rest by private-owned businesses. Taipower’s energy storage systems mostly provide regulation service. In 2021, Taiwan had 51 MW/71 MWh of energy storage demand; the figure may exceed 1,200 MW/3,000 MW by 2025, as InfoLink projected. In addition to global commitment of RE100 and the government’s target to achieve net-zero by 2050, results of the referendum further consolidated the existential importance of renewable energies, ramping up the development of energy storage in Taiwan.
Source: Bureau of Energy, Taiwan
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