Promoting a green energy technology ecosystem

  • Date: 2016-11-23

I. Background

As the specter of global warming looms large and traditional energy sources are rapidly depleted, many nations have made energy conservation and carbon reduction pillars of economic policy. Countries around the world are thus implementing strategic energy policies and developing renewable energy sources, giving “green” industries a new prominence in the global economy.

To respond to the requirements of a green economy and help Taiwan achieve its nuclear-free policy goals, the government has made green energy technologies an important component of its “five plus two” innovative industries policy. Government efforts are thus leveraging Taiwan’s existing niche in the green energy development field, promoting the development of green energy industries and boosting industrial competitiveness to bolster the nation’s energy security, create a green economy and promote environmental sustainability.

On October 27, 2016 the Executive Yuan approved a program to promote innovation in green energy technology industries, prioritizing a two-year solar photovoltaic (SPV) plan and a four-year wind energy plan that will drive employment by generating domestic demand. The program also includes a plan to make the Shalun Green Energy Science City the developmental base of an ecosystem to support innovation in green energy technologies for four major functions: creating, conserving and storing energy, as well as system integration. That ecosystem will support industry development needs to enhance the competitiveness of green energy industries and harmonize with international trends and specifications. The program will also promote the use of “smart” electricity meters to increase end-user participation in demand-side management which, in turn, will decrease peak-load energy demands and conserve energy.

 

II. Construct the Shalun Green Energy Science City to provide R&D and demo capabilities; create an ecosystem to foster innovative industries in the green technology field

The government is developing the Shalun Green Energy Science City near the high-speed railway’s Tainan station, linking 30 industrial parks in Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung to create a green energy industry hub. The hub’s core in Shalun will house a green energy technology research center as well as a demo site, providing facilities to develop research and development (R&D) capabilities and conduct the requisite certification and demonstration procedures.

A. The joint research center for green energy technologies will integrate the efforts of domestic academic institutions, research institutes, state-run enterprises and industry to develop green energy technologies, focusing on four major functions: creating, conserving and storing energy, as well as system integration.

 

  1. Energy creation: Develop new technologies for energy generation in the solar, offshore wind and biomass fields.

     

  2. Energy conservation: Upgrade existing energy conservation technologies and plan smart, green architectural projects.

     

  3. Energy storage: Upgrade lithium battery and fuel cell efficiency while lowering costs and develop new large-scale energy storage systems.

     

  4. System integration: Integrate various systems via a smart grid to carry out a comprehensive green energy development plan.

     

B. The green energy technology demo site will provide certification and demonstration functions for the results of green energy research efforts including prototyping, application testing and system certification. It will also serve as a link between scientific research and industry to achieve the program’s developmental goal: using industry needs to drive R&D capabilities while using R&D capabilities to spur industry development.

In addition to its role as a driving force for green energy technology industries, in the future the Shalun Green Energy Technology City will participate in “smart city” planning, using designs informed by concepts such as “harmonious coexistence” and the “circular economy” to create ecosystems to support biodiversity and development while also building world-class smart cities incorporating green energy and smart technology.   

 

III. Projected benefits for related industries

A. By June of 2018 the two-year SPV plan is projected to have a cumulative installed capacity of 1,520 megawatts, with SPV locations including rooftops of public buildings owned by the central government, factories, agricultural facilities, land used by the salt industry, land subject to severe subsidence, aquatic areas (reservoirs, flood retention ponds, irrigation ponds, fish farms) and landfills. The plan will also optimize land utilization, keep buildings cooler and conserve energy while helping farmers and fishermen use previously unused space to generate income.

B. The four-year wind power plan will establish Taiwan in the Asia Pacific offshore wind power sector by using the nation’s wind farms as a training ground for industry chain localization. Goals include a cumulative installed capacity of 4.2 gigawatts (GW) by the year 2025, comprising 1.2 GW from land-based installations and 3 GW from offshore wind farms, generating a projected 14 billion kilowatt-hours of power annually and driving aggregate investment of NT$610 billion (approximately US$19.2 billion).

C. Deployment of smart electrical meters for residential users is expected to begin in 2017, with the first round of 200,000 installed within two years and a total of three million installed by 2026, with an output value of about NT$24 billion (approximately US$756 million).

D. The joint research center and demo site for green energy at the Shalun Green Energy Science City will conduct R&D, integrating the efforts of academic institutions, research institutes, state-run enterprises and industry in four areas: creating, conserving and storing energy, along with system integration, to support the developmental needs of green industries.

 

IV. Conclusion

The government’s push to develop green energy industries has numerous goals and benefits. In terms of national security strategy, developing green industries will decrease Taiwan’s dependence on imported energy and thus increase the nation’s energy self-sufficiency. For innovative technology industries, green energy industries can drive domestic economic development by attracting more venture capital and creating more employment opportunities. In the quest for environmental sustainability, green initiatives will reduce environmental risks and pave the way for a low-carbon, nuclear-free country that also protects the environmental rights of future generations.

The Shalun Green Energy Science City is thus a major step forward in achieving all of these goals. By creating a “cluster effect,” the science city will increase industry efficiency, and become a major force driving Taiwan toward a greener and more innovative economy while promoting sustainable development, helping Taiwan become a nuclear-free country.