Taipei, April 4 (CNA) The Taiwan government said Sunday that all four coal-fired generators at the Hsinta Power Plant in Kaohsiung will be phased out over the next few years and replaced with natural gas-powered units, amid public protests over air pollution in the southern city.
In a press release, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), which operates the plant, plans to decommission all four coal-fired generators at the Hsinta plant in five years’ time.
The No. 1 and 2 coal-fired generators are scheduled to be decommissioned in 2023 and replaced with natural gas-powered ones, the ministry said.
The No. 3 and 4 generators, meanwhile, will be reserved only for emergency use after new natural gas-powered units go online in 2024, and will be decommissioned at the end of 2025, the MOEA said.
Over the past five years, the ministry said, the state-owned Taipower has been working to reduce the use of coal at the Hsinta plant by over 2 million tonnes, or 34 percent, compared with 2016.
The MOEA released the statement in response to a public protest Sunday in Kaohsiung, at which the demonstrators called for the coal-fired generators at the Hsinta plant to be decommissioned immediately, saying they had been a major source of air pollution in the city for decades.
The protest was joined by several environmental groups that also called on the Kaohsiung-headquartered China Steel Corp. (CSC), Taiwan’s leading steel maker, to close down at least one of its boilers as soon as possible.
In response, CSC said in press release that only three of its 12 boilers are partly coal-powered, and one of them is out of use, while the other two will stop using coal by Sept. 15, in line with Kaohsiung City government’s coal consumption regulations.