Taiwan accelerates geothermal development towards decarbonization

Rebecca Kuo, Tainan; Vyra Wu, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Geothermal vapor on Yangmingshan Mtn. north of Taipei, Taiwan. Credit: TomChao40 on Wikipedia

Taiwan is making strides towards achieving its 2050 net-zero objective, with geothermal power generation emerging as a pivotal player in the field of renewable energy. TCC Green Energy's geothermal power plant is gearing up for grid testing by the end of 2024, thereby paving the path for its official entry into commercial operation. Presently, Taiwan is witnessing a dynamic developmental landscape, with eight geothermal power plants underway across over 20 locations.

By the close of 2022, Taiwan's grid-connected geothermal installed capacity had reached 5MW, contributing to an annual reduction of 16,000 tons in carbon emissions. Aligned with Taiwan's strategic "forward-looking energy" roadmap for the 2050 net-zero transformation, the anticipated carbon reduction benefits from geothermal power generation are projected to ascend to 64,000 tons by 2025, and a range of 180,000 to 620,000 tons by 2030.

At present, three geothermal power plants in Taiwan have successfully transitioned into full-scale commercial operation. Among these, two are located in Yilan, with one boasting a substantial unit capacity of 4.2MW, positioning it as the largest geothermal power plant on the island, while the other possesses a capacity of 0.75MW. The third is situated in Taitung and equipped with a unit capacity of 0.5MW.

The geothermal power plant owned by TCC Green Energy has successfully concluded the installation of production wells and is presently undergoing capacity testing. Plans are in place for it to undergo grid testing by the close of 2024, followed by its official commencement of commercial operations. Notably, Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) and CPC Corporation are also actively engaged in the development of a geothermal power plants, which is undergoing rigorous operational testing and is poised to formally initiate its commercial operations in the near future.

Over the recent years, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has demonstrated fervent involvement in geothermal exploration, capacity testing, power plant construction, and advancements in operational technology research and development. Pertaining to geothermal exploration, the introduction of equipment for small-diameter core drilling is taking place in 2023. For capacity testing, the deployment of an automated intelligent precision production testing system to assist TCC Green Energy in their assessments of power plant construction.

In the sphere of power plant construction, ITRI cooperates with Schlumberger to lend substantial support to the LCY Corp in constructing the nation's inaugural geothermal power plant equipped with an electrical submersible pump (ESP), engineered to elevate production efficiency and elevate single well power generation capabilities to beyond 1MW.

Furthermore, the application of intelligent geothermal power plant technology extends to the its geothermal power plant. Operating through an ensemble diagnostics mode integrating cloud monitoring and AI-driven big data analysis, it offers astute management of susceptible equipment within the geothermal power plant, proactively anticipates damage seven days ahead, and consequentially curtails overall operational expenses.