Fear of Brownouts After Power Tower Collapse

The collapse of a high voltage electricity transmission tower in Ilan County during Typhoon Nesat yesterday poses a threat to the national power supply network, according to national power supplier Taipower.

The tower’s collapse prevents 1.3 million kilowatts from Heping power station entering the power grid.

Engineers from the privately owned power plant are on site attempting repairs, but national power supplier Taipower expects it will take at least two weeks before supply can be resumed.

The 345KV EHV tower, located in the Yongle mountain area near Ilan County’s Suao township collapsed in category 12 winds generated by the typhoon at around 8:00pm last night, July 29.

At an emergency response meeting today, Taipower urged the public, large factories, and department stores to help conserve electricity, especially during peak demand time between 1:00pm and 3:00pm, by keeping air-conditioned areas above 28°C and turning off unused electrical appliances and lighting.

Last week saw peak electricity consumption break previous records at 36,213,000 kW due to high temperatures.

Electricity capacity reserves fell to 3.93 percent, causing an orange alert.

Taipower’s warning system shows a green light when operating reserve margins are above 10 percent, an orange light below 6 percent, and a red alert when the reserve falls below 900,000 kW. At less than 500,000 kW, a black alert makes power rationing necessary, and brownouts may occur.

With two nuclear reactors offline for maintenance and repair, the disruption caused by the collapsed tower is expected to cause red alerts later in the week, as temperatures rise again after the influence of two typhoons brought cooler weather to the island.

heping power station
The privately owned Heping Power plant in Hualian County.
a collapsed electricity transmission tower
A collapsed power transmission tower in Ilan County.
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