TSMC powers parts of Taipei with backup generators — Taiwan requests help as blackouts begin

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. logo atop a building at the Hsinchu Science Park in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
(Image credit: Mike Kai Chen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

On April 15, TSMC shared energy from its backup power generators with state-owned power company Taipower to help avoid a power outage crisis, according to Taiwan's Commercial Times. This news comes in the wake of the recent 7.2-magnitude earthquake, which caused eight power generating units in to fail. 

TSMC is the world's largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry, with a client list that includes AMD, Apple, Nvidia, and Qualcomm. The company is based in Taiwan and, as the island's largest company, has a strong relationship with the government (which is also its largest shareholder). The government requested help from TSMC this week to obtain 200,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) from the company's backup diesel generators. 

Cai Zhimeng, a spokesperson for Taipower, shared that the need for emergency power was mainly due to the effects of the recent earthquake, after which eight of the state's power-generating units failed. The issue was amplified by rising temperatures in Taiwan (because it's nearly summer), which caused additional units to fail. 

According to Zhimeng, Taipower has a "tacit understanding" with TSMC, and the semiconductor company provided its power generators voluntarily, without signing a contract. It's standard for Taipower to request the aid of its largest customers when situations become dire. And TSMC came at the right moment — just as Taoyuan, a major Taipei suburb, reported a two-hour widespread blackout on April 16. Taipower emphasized that TSMC's power donation did not negatively impact TSMC's production

Taiwan's power grid issues were exacerbated by the recent earthquake — the largest in 25 years — but they're emblematic of a larger problem as Taiwan's summer heat arrives earlier and earlier each year. With infrastructure demands high and global circumstances becoming more concerning, we'll likely continue to see more stories of companies plugging in gaps where governments cannot. 

Freelance News Writer
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