[News] Taiwan Reportedly to Accommodate up to 20 More Large Plants Due to Power Constraints

2024-07-02 Semiconductors editor

As semiconductor companies led by TSMC accelerate their pace for capacity expansion, benefiting the local supply chain, industry electricity consumption has emerged as a tough challenge for Taiwan. According to the latest report by the Economic Daily News, Taiwan can only accommodate 20 more large plants, with the power supply possibly reaching its limit in two years.

As its price of industrial electricity is comparatively lower to international rates, the Taiwan market not only attracts semiconductor companies but also international giants to establish data centers, the report noted. In addition to cloud service providers like AWS, Google, and Microsoft, Apple has recently planned to set up a data center in Taiwan.

Citing engineering companies familiar with high-tech industries, the report indicated that more than 10 new data centers are expected to be constructed in Taiwan. With the recent wave of announcements by semiconductor companies to launch advanced nodes and packaging capacities in Taiwan, it is estimated that once the 2nm and 1.6nm factories are fully operational, approximately 10 more semiconductor plants will result in a power supply challenge.

That is to say, Taiwan could accommodate around 20 more tech plants to be built by 2026 in total, the report said.

Take TSMC as an example. According to earlier reports by Commercial Times, the foundry giant’s 3nm plant in Tainan plans to begin mass production in the third quarter, while EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography) machines will be introduced progressively at another 3nm plant, P8 in Hsinchu, next year. On the other hand, TSMC’s advanced 2-nanometer process capacity is set to begin mass production in 2025.

Commercial Times noted that the EUV machines, crucial for advanced processes, will see over 60 units delivered this year and next to TSMC.

However, EUV machines are considered “electricity-consuming monsters.” According to an earlier report by BITS&CHIPS, ASML’s EUV machine consumes about a megawatt to produce 160 wafers per hour. Since a chip must go through twenty passes in this scanner, this results in an additional energy consumption of about 0.2 kWh per square centimeter of the chip, totaling 1.6 kWh per square centimeter. An earlier report by Bloomberg estimated that because of the vast amount of power needed to run EUVs, TSMC is expected to use 12.5% of Taiwan’s entire electricity supply by 2025.

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(Photo credit: TSMC’s P8, DACIN Construction)

Please note that this article cites information from Economic Daily News and Commercial Times.

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