Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), the state-owned electricity company, has officially unveiled the Renze geothermal power plant with an installed capacity of 840 kW in Yilan County, Taiwan. This milestone marks a significant step towards enhancing Taiwan's renewable energy landscape, with the power plant anticipated to commence commercial operations by year-end.
The Renze geothermal power plant is the collaborative effort of Taipower and another state-owned entity, CPC Corp. Taiwan. This achievement notably distinguishes it as Taiwan's first geothermal power plant fully constructed by state-owned enterprises. The project aligns with the Ministry of Economic Affairs' (MOEA) goal of establishing 20 MW of installed geothermal power generation capacity by 2025.
Taipower has projected that the Renze geothermal power plant will generate an annual output of 4.7 million kWh, supplying approximately two-thirds of the power requirements for the Datong Township where the facility is situated. This translates into a reduction of over 2,300 metric tons of carbon emissions per year.
Geothermal exploration in the Renze region dates back to the 1970s when two wells, Renze-1 and Renze-2, were initially drilled. However, limited technology at the time hindered the pursuit of geothermal power generation. It was not until 2018 that development plans were revived with the establishment of a national geothermal power generation team, resulting in the drilling of two additional wells, Renze-3 and Renze-4.
Taipower officials have detailed the geothermal power plant's operation, highlighting the extraction of heat from wells at a depth of approximately 1500 meters, where downhole temperatures range between 180 to 200°C. The geothermal fluid is then processed through a heat exchanger, avoiding direct contact with power generation equipment.
During the inauguration ceremony, MOEA Deputy Minister Tseng Wen-sheng underscored the significance of the Renze geothermal power plant as a vital milestone for domestic power generation. Tseng emphasized the compact land footprint of a mere 0.2 hectares, a testament to the plant's efficiency.
Tseng also acknowledged the need for updated regulations and review processes to expedite the development of geothermal power in Taiwan, in light of mounting external pressure to expand renewable energy sources. Taipower has emphasized that the global supply chain is transitioning towards carbon neutrality and net-zero power generation, amplifying the urgency to enhance Taiwan's renewable energy infrastructure.