TSMC Refuses Comment On 2nm Plant Relocation – Environmental Review Reveals Key Details

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The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has refused to comment on rumors swirling in Taiwan, claiming that it plans to relocate its under-construction 2nm semiconductor manufacturing facility. TSMC's refusal came yesterday after reports in the Taiwanese press speculated that the company had decided to change its second 2nm facility location. According to the fab's current plans, it is set to build the first 2nm plant in Taiwan's Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park, following which it will build another facility in the island's Taichung sector. The rumors had suggested that TSMC is planning to build the second facility in the Southwestern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung instead.

TSMC Reduces Water Consumption Estimates For Planned 2nm Chipmaking Facility In Hsinchu, Taiwan

The rumors outlined that the fab had decided to relocate the second 2nm plant due to water constraints in the Taichung area. Taiwan has just come out of the worst drought in its history after a lack of rain in the region reduced water reservoir levels to dangerously low levels. As a result, industrial users such as TSMC were required to reduce their water consumption, but the fab managed to come out of the situation without reducing its chip output.

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Following the unconfirmed reports, TSMC stuck with its usual response in which it refuses to comment on market rumors. Taiwan's United Daily News, known for its regular coverage of the fab's daily affairs, sourced more information from TSMC's supply chain to determine whether the company might switch the location of its second 2nm plant from Taichung to Kaohsiung.

The supply chain believes that it is unlikely for the company to do so, as TSMC will primarily focus its attention on Hsinchu, and if the need arises for an expansion, then the company will utilize the Zhongke industrial park in Taichung. Another facility in Kaosiung might be on the cards, but it's unlikely that it will cater to manufacturing 2nm chips. In addition to chip fabrication, TSMC's facilities also focus on packaging and research and development, and the company could set up a facility in the Southwestern city for these purposes.

TSMC's Fab 14 in Nan-Ke, Tainan, Taiwan.

Before it can set its plans for a 2nm Hsinchu facility in stone and commence construction, TSMC needs regulatory approval for the site's electricity and water consumption and other environmental aspects. At this front, the relevant officials deliberated on these areas in a meeting today.

The details suggest that administration officials from Hsinchu outlined that the area's original water consumption estimates of 120,000 cubic meters per day (CMD) have now been reduced by 18% to 98,000 CMD. Out of these, 68,000 CMD will be through local water supplies, and the rest will be recycled. Additionally, the officials also outlined that by 2030, the area will shift to fully using recycled water for its needs.

On the topic of power consumption, the officials highlighted that TSMC has promised to use renewable electricity for all of the plant's energy needs by 2050. The fab has also expressed its enthusiasm to meet all the requirements that large-scale energy users in the region are required to meet.

However, behind closed doors, there is still skepticism on whether the plant will meet all its commitments, and officials expect more concrete commitments from the developers. Water use continued to be one of the primary points in the discussion, as officials believed that a schedule for the transition to recycled water by 2030 needs to be provided, and the facility's developers need to actively coordinate with other stakeholders in the area for water consumption, construction and groundwater use.

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TSMC's 2nm plant is expected to expand the company's footprint in the Hsinchu science park by 90 hectares and create 2,500 jobs in the region. The 2nm process node will mark an upgrade over the company's next-generation 3nm process, which is expected to commence production next year.

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