Have you seen the most beautiful electric tower in Taiwan? Taiwan Power Company organized the first electric tower creative design competition in 2015 to collect all ideas and creativities that would subvert the existing electric tower styles. Now, the first creative electric tower designed by the public has been accomplished! It is located near the estuary of Heping Creek in the border between Ilan County and Hualien County. In addition to adopting a completely white color which is totally different from the commonly seen red and white interwoven or gray colors, its shape is formed by welding and bolting of steel structure based on the image of ancient Chinese character of “Life”, symbolizing TPC’s effort in provide endless and stable power. Taiwan Power Company pointed out that it took 2 years to build this first creative electric tower. In addition to the outstanding appearance, it also shoulders the responsibility of supplying ultra-high voltage power for Suhua Highway Improvement Project, and the operation power for ventilation, lighting, instrument control, and safety facilities of the tunnel. Whether taking trains on North-Link line, or driving on the Improved Suhua Highway inaugurated in January or existing Suhua Highway, people can all see this new Facebook check-in landmark.
Taiwan Power Company explained that there are almost 20,000 electric towers in Taiwan now, and the power transmission lines of more than 13,000 km have been built based on joint effort to form the nationwide power grid. Electric towers serve the purpose of providing electric power to all people, and yet they are often regarded as not-in-my-back-yard (NIMBY) facilities. In light of this, Taiwan Power Company has been trying to organize electric tower design competitions for the public to participate in the action of “Design Your Own Electric Tower”, hopefully allowing them to feel the close relationship between electric power and daily life.
Taiwan Power Company pointed out that during the first electric tower creative design competition organized in 2015, 10 winners were selected from 50 participating teams to undergo a comprehensive evaluation of the feasibilities of landscape shape, structural materials, manufacturing and construction as well as operation and maintenance. In the end, the work “Life” designed by Deputy Design Manager of JET OPTO, Ke-Yu Tsai, was selected as the first creative electric tower in Taiwan.
Taiwan Power Company indicated that this electric tower was named “No.2 Electric Tower of Heren ~ Hanben Line”, which is one of the three electric towers newly built for the connection line in response to the demand for ultra-high voltage power by Improved Suhua Highway. In addition to the outstanding appearance, it also supplies power for the operations of ventilation, lighting, instrument control, and safety facilities of Guanyin and Gufeng Tunnels of Improved Suhua Highway. It can supply around 230,000 kWh of power per hour.
Taiwan Power Company explained that this electric tower is 48 m tall with gradient curving shape in the form of the Chinese character of “Life”, which cannot be built via the angle steel lapping method adopted by the existing electric towers. Instead, it must be built based on more complicated steel structure welding before bolting forming. Steel plates must be precisely cut and bent into 3D curving surfaces and welded piece by piece in the factory before being transported to the site at the border between Ilan and Hualien counties to be assembled. Besides, bridge steel structure construction companies were asked to provide assistance. Due to its unique shape, hanging, positioning and calibration all required special attentions. Sometimes, it required three “Heavy Duty” cranes of 200-ton, 120-ton, and 80-ton to work at the same time. It took twice the assembly time required by the existing towers, and took 2 years to complete the entire project from detailed design, factory manufacturing, transportation, to on-site assembly.
Designer Ke-Yu Tsai is the Deputy Design Manager of JET OPTO. He was granted the two Golden Awards of “2007 Yulong Nissan Automobile Innovation Award” and “2009 YSED Award”, and awards from other design competitions, while studying at the Graduate Institute of Industrial Design, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology. After entering the industry, the work of his company was also recognized by Red Dot Design Award. Ke-Yu Tsai said that he participated in this electric tower design competition because he had never tried this type of design. He didn’t expect that Taiwan Power Company took it seriously and has turned his award-winning work into an actual electric tower for power transmission, thus making this work his “Greatest” achievement.
Ke-Yu Tsai said jokingly that in the past, he could feel the existence of TPC only when he received the electricity bills. The participation in this electric tower design competition made him realize that the power generation and transmission processes are quite challenging. Therefore, the idea of his work was based on the coexistence and combination of stable power and natural environment. The bending structure of the electric tower was based on the design of the existing bridges, and it was linked to the natural environment of the site via the upward growing shape image of the ancient Chinese character “Life” to demonstrate the implication of endless circulation.
Ke-Yu Tsai could not believe it when he had been notified of winning the award. He thought they were asking him to retrieve his design model. When he actually saw the completely built electric tower, he truly felt that Taiwan Power Company really respected his original design with almost 100% similarity. He was grateful that Taiwan Power Company was willing to realize his work, and hoped that it could become a new landmark.
Taiwan Power Company indicates that the first creative electric tower is located near the estuary of Heping Creek between the border of Ilan County and Hualien Counties. People taking trains on North-Link line (between Taiwan Railway Yilan Hanben Station and Hualien Heping Station) or driving on the Improved Suhua Highway (143K of New Taiwan Route 9) or the existing Suhua Highway (156K of Taiwan Route 9 Line D) will see this most beautiful electric tower. Be sure not to miss it!