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Taipower to investigate why wind turbines toppled during typhoon

The state-owned Taiwan Power Company (台電公司) has formed a committee to examine why seven of its wind turbines collapsed during Typhoon Soudelor last weekend, a Taipower official said Wednesday.

The results of the investigation will be published in two months’ time, said Lee Wen-bing (李文彬), deputy head of Taipower’s Department of Renewable Energy.

Lee was responding to concerns about the issue, which were raised by Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) earlier in the day.

Tien said it was worrisome to see seven wind turbines knocked over during the storm, which hit Taiwan last Saturday with powerful winds of up to 209 kilometers per hour.

“The government should get to the bottom of the problem,” he said.

Solar and wind power is crucial to national security, Tien said, noting that Taiwan imports 97 percent of its energy needs at an annual cost of NT$1 trillion (US$31.2 billion).

He said it would be better if the government phased out the aging wind turbines rather than fuel public misgivings about renewable energy.

In response, Lee said the seven wind turbines – six in Taichung and one in Shihmen District in New Taipei – were part of the first batch Taipower purchased in 2003.

All 18 wind turbines at its Taichung wind farm have been shut down since the typhoon, pending inspection, he said.

In addition to Taipower’s 169 wind turbines, there are 155 others in Taiwan operated by the private sector.