Research alliance in Taiwan to develop large wind turbines

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Kaohsiung, March 30 (CNA) The Metal Industries Research & Development Centre (MIRDC) , a nonprofit organization based in Kaohsiung, said Monday that it has invited three of Taiwan’s top engineering companies to form alliance to develop large wind turbine

MIRDC Chairman Huang Chi-chuan disclosed that the alliance will include Tatung Co., Shihlin Electric & Engineering Corp. and Far East Machinery Co.

“We will develop related facilities to produce Taiwan’s first locally made large wind turbine with a capacity of 2,500 kilowatts within four years,” he said.

According to Huang, the wind turbines produced under this research program will not only help Taiwan harness its abundant wind power resources, but can also be sold to other countries hoping to make use of renewable energy sources.

Chang Mao-sheng, an engineer at the MIRDC, said the center’s ambitious project — unprecedented in Taiwan — intends to develop wind turbines with rotor diameters measuring 86 meters and each aerodynamically designed blade weighing about six metric tons.

Chang said the MIRDC will have no problems with the development, manufacturing and installation of the wind turbine, or with its safe operation and maintenance.

The new wind turbines will be designed to lock the blades automatically when wind speeds reach 70 meters per second, or 252 kilometers per hour.

Taiwan’s coastal areas are ideal for the development of wind power because they have strong northwesterly winds for six months each year, with an average wind speed of five to six meters per second, or 18-22 kph.

State-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) is currently implementing a 10-year wind power development plan under which more than 200 wind turbines will be built by 2010, with a total capacity of 300 megawatts.

Most of the wind turbines have an individual capacity of between 500 and 600 kilowatts, with the latest models capable of generating 2,000 kilowatts.

Taipower has also mapped out a second 10-year development plan spanning 2010 to 2020 that would place 546 wind turbines with a total capacity of nearly 2,000 megawatts in shallow waters off Taiwan’s west coast and Penghu, an island chain west of Taiwan renowned for its strong winds all year round.

The electricity generated by 176 units in Penghu will be transmitted to Taiwan through a 40-km undersea cable. The other 370 units will be established 10 to 15 km off the coast of Changhua and Yunlin counties, according to Taipower.

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