Wind power in Taiwan: Penghu?s wind energy credentials

The strong northeast monsoon winds that the Penghu Islands experience during the winter make the offshore islands an ideal site for wind power stations, which could produce NT$13 billion (US$431.82 million) worth of power annually, according to academics.

Excess power generated during the winter months could be used to meet the energy needs of Taiwan proper, they added.

To promote clean energy development in Taiwan and implement President Ma Ying-jeou’s sustainable environment policy under his “golden decade” vision, the National Science Council and National Penghu University of Science and Technology have been cooperating on related wind power generation research.

Lin Huei-jeng, former president of the university and professor in the Department of Engineering Science and Ocean Engineering at National Taiwan University, said Dec. 19 that Penghu has more than 150 days a year when power generation can reach full capacity, well ahead of Germany’s 25 percent of days per year, the U.K.’s 9 percent, Denmark’s 28 percent, and Taiwan proper’s 30 percent to 35 percent.

An undersea electric cable linking Taiwan proper to Penghu is expected to be in place by August 2016, and at that time, 10 regions in the archipelago will have wind farm stations established.

An official from Taiwan Power Co.’s Jianshan Branch said Penghu’s two current wind farm plants stations have supplied about 11 percent of Penghu’s power needs this year.

When the undersea cable is completed and electricity is sold to Taiwan proper, Lin said, based on the estimate of land-based wind power generation of 120 million watts and offshore wind energy generation of 600 million watts, the needed investment of NT$70 billion could be recouped in just over five years.

Another form of alternative energy that has potential for development in Penghu is solar power. The Taipower official said solar installations require a lot of land area and the company does not have much in the way of development plans for the islands on this front at present.

However, he continued, the county government is taking the initiative in mapping out solar energy development plans to transform Penghu into a “green energy island” that can supply clean power in both winter and summer.