Today there were blackouts that lasted hours across large swaths of Taiwan. The power issue was reportedly due to an issue at a Taipower plant in Kaohsiung.
Occasional blackouts occurring in Taiwan are not terribly uncommon, however, one of this magnitude doesn’t happen often, though according to reports the same issue has happened before. Cities across Taiwan’s biggest island experienced blackouts, even experiencing them in the far north as Taipei, around 400 kilometers away from where the issue occurred.
This incident highlights Taiwan’s issue with power. In the most recent referendum Taiwanese voted against opening the 4th Nuclear Reactor. While many did this for ostensibly noble reasons and valid worries about the potential dangers of nuclear power, the Taiwan’s reliance on fossil fuels may not be much better. Taiwan currently relies heavily on oil and coal, which seems to be a questionable alternative to nuclear, and especially to green energy.
The outage of course also brought worries about an attack from China. They clearly had nothing to do with this, though the fear from average citizens is somewhat understandable especially with ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine on everyone’s minds. Though some, especially those abroad, took advantage of the situation as a way of stoking fears and pushing their agenda.
Immediately after the power went down, around 9 am, the government ordered Taipower to fix the blackout. President Tsai led these calls and while the President’s office was not affected, she was forced to end a live stream she was doing with Mike Pompeo, who is currently visiting Taiwan.
While the Presidential office wasn’t affected by the island-wide power outage, they had to cancel the online streaming of Tsai’s meeting with former US secretary of state @mikepompeo, who is currently visiting #Taiwan.
— William Yang (@WilliamYang120) March 3, 2022
Thankfully it seems that most, if not all, places in Taiwan now have power again. However, this is certainly concerning as such unexpected and widespread outages could lead to injuries or worse for those more at risk, for example those using medical devices that require continuous power. Hopefully this spurs the Taiwanese government to get serious about moving towards sustainable power and a grid that can withstand, and prevent, such issues.