Marine Power A Growing Priority In Taiwan

If we’re correctly deciphering the Google translation of an announcement from Taiwan’s Bureau of Energy, the small but densely populated island is working to meet more of its energy needs with marine power. The idea appears to be to produce 200 megawatts (MW) of power using perhaps a trio of marine-power technologies to help reach a goal of 8,450 MW of renewables – 15 percent of total installed power capacity – by 2025.

The bureau said research institutes in Taiwan have developed a 1-kilowatt (kW) class wave-power generator, as well as a 5-kW ocean thermal energy conversion generator. Ocean thermal energy conversion is a technology we don’t hear about as often as wave or tidal power; it’s a way of using the big dfferences in temperature between the ocean surface and the ocean floor to drive a power-producing cycle.

marine power, Taiwan

image via Shutterstock

It appears the Taiwanese are looking to deploy ocean thermal technology “off the coast of eastern Hualien and Taitung, 1,000 meters deep,” where “sea temperature and sea surface temperature difference reached 20 degrees.”

For wave power, the sites in mind are off northeastern Taiwan, the bureau said, where energy potential reaches as high as 10 kW/m. It seems that tidal power is what they have in mind in other areas, including off the east coast where the Kuroshio Current flows, and off the west coast in the Penghu Channel.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.