Industry leaders see the light on a “green highway”

(Photo courtesy of Taiwan Power Co.)

Industry leaders see the light on a green highway

(Photo courtesy of Taiwan Power Co.)

Renewable energy has been considered the world’s best bet for saving the planet and also a win-win solution for creating more employment and boosting economic growth. On Wednesday, key opinion leaders in renewable energy gathered in Taipei to exchange opinions and thoughts with the purpose of assisting the Taiwanese government and energy industry to set out a viable action plan to put the country on track to implement a win-win green energy solution for a sustainable environment and economy.

Earlier this year, Taiwan’s new government showed commitment to increasing renewable-based electricity generation to 20 percent of supply by 2025 in response to the COP21 Agreement and under pressure to phase out nuclear energy. With that, the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan, state-run China Petroleum Corporation, and PricewaterhouseCoopers Taiwan jointly put together experts and leaders associated with renewable energy from around the world at a New Energy Leadership Forum to seek solutions.

According to the COP 21, to avoid the perilous consequences of climate change, the participating nations are requested to make every effort to reduce greenhouse emissions and limit the increase of the world’s average surface temperature under 2 Celsius degrees. Taiwan has voluntarily joined the initiative and is hammering out plans to shift to the consumption of renewable energy ahead of its original schedule.

Also not long ago, Premier Lin Chuan announced the establishment of the Energy and Carbon Emission Reductions Office under the Executive Yuan and an ambitious two-year plan aimed at installing a total of 1.44 GW solar PV power systems in the country.

In a panel discussion moderated by Eugene Chien, Chairman, Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE), speakers agreed that a good renewable energy policy has to achieve environmental and economic sustainability, with the former producing less greenhouse gases and the latter more jobs and economic growth.

Bart Linssen, General Manager of Enercon Taiwan, indicated that the year 2015 saw new records for the development of renewable energy of which the amount of money committed to renewable energy rose 5 percent to US$285.9 billion and stimulated renewable energy power facilities. He advised that the industry should increase its market presence in the game to tap into the trend and let employment opportunities follow.

Living in Taiwan for more than 13 years, Linssen considered that the highways connecting Northern and Southern Taiwan have fundamentally backed the economy over the past few decades, and a green highway, meaning a comprehensive coverage of renewable energy network from head to toe of the island country, will reach that end too, as demonstrated by Portugal over the years with more employment being created.

According to Huang Dong-li, Director of Green Tech Research Institute of CPC, the country’s renewable energy consumption accounts for only 1.92 percent of total energy consumption in 2015, showing a huge room for improvement. The next step should be, as suggested by Linssen, to increase installation of facilities such as wind turbines and subsequently making renewable energy accessible in the market in order to boost renewable energy consumption.