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Taiwan to discuss lithium ion battery energy storage with Tesla following blackout

President Tsai Ing-wen wants to boost use of green energy

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A Tesla Model S electric car is charged by a supercharger at its showroom in Taipei on August 11.   © Reuters

TAIPEI -- The Taiwanese government is planning to approach Tesla to discuss the feasibility of setting up lithium ion battery facilities for storing renewable energy on the island, in line with a project the U.S. technology company recently launched in Australia, a top official said on Thursday following a mass power blackout earlier in the week.

The move would also chime with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's ongoing efforts to replace nuclear power with green energy. Tsai has pledged to make Taiwan nuclear energy free by 2025.

Taiwan’s Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee said the government would seek to discuss lithium ion battery energy storage with Tesla. (Photo by Debby Wu)

"Tesla is using its lithium ion battery technology to help Australia and California to implement smart grid and grid storage, and we can learn from them in the future," Taiwan's Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee told reporters at his office in Taipei.

"We will try to check out whether there is a suitable solution...we will get in touch with them," Chen said.

Chen added that the government would send a team of officials to the U.S. to talk with Tesla soon, although he would not be heading the delegation.

He said that the government had not prepared a budget for such a project, although he suggested that a Taiwanese company could potentially form a joint venture with the U.S. tech company for the project.

Tesla, which is also known for its electric cars, declined to comment.

Taiwan was hit by a mass power outage on Tuesday, the largest by number of households affected since a massive earthquake struck in 1999.

The blackout came after government-run petroleum company CPC Corporation ran into difficulties while replacing the power supply for a control system responsible for sending natural gas to a power plant.

A number of tech companies in Taiwan have suffered some minor disruption to production following the outage.

In early July, the state of South Australia picked Tesla to build the world's largest lithium ion battery to store renewable energy, in partnership with French energy company Neoen.

The deal came about after the state suffered a massive blackout last September after a storm destroyed infrastructure, leaving 1.7 million residents without electricity. Intense summer heat in early 2017 led to further blackouts in the area.

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