Energy transformation: Industrial innovation for green energy technologies

  • Date: 2018-02-02

I. Background
On October 27, 2016, the Executive Yuan approved an industrial innovation program for green energy technologies to help transform Taiwan’s energy structure and push the nation toward its goal of generating 20 percent of all electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The program, an integral part of the “five plus two” innovative industries policy, will promote green energy tech industries while driving Taiwan’s energy transformation and economic development.

II. Main initiatives and goals of the program
With a focus on energy generation, energy storage, energy conservation and systems integration, the program prioritizes several initiatives including a two-year solar energy promotion plan, a four-year wind power promotion plan, a Green Energy Roofs project, a pilot program for smart meter installation, and the Shalun Green Energy Science City currently under development. On the whole, the program is designed to meet domestic demand, develop niche industries, attract large-scale investments from domestic and foreign investors, and create quality jobs for 32,000 individuals while generating total investments of NT$1.82 trillion (US$62.2 billion).

III. Program progress (as of year-end 2017)
A. Solar power
Objectives: Strengthen local solar energy businesses to build a self-sufficient supply chain in Taiwan. By 2025, increase total installed capacity to 20 gigawatts (GW), generate aggregate investments of NT$1.2 trillion (US$41 billion), and raise the industry’s yearly output value to NT$340 billion (US$11.6 billion).
1. Taiwan currently has 1.4 GW of installed solar capacity. The two-year solar energy promotion plan aims to install 1.52 GW of new solar capacity, of which 1.424 GW, or 93.7 percent, have already been achieved from registered equipment. 
2. The Green Energy Roofs project has been rolled out.
3. The Customs Import Tariff law has been revised to provide tariff exemptions on imported materials used in photovoltaic modules.

B. Wind power
Objectives: Create a supply chain in Taiwan for the offshore wind turbine industry. By 2025, increase total installed capacity to 4.2 GW, generate aggregate investments of NT$613.5 billion (US$21 billion), and raise the industry’s yearly output value to NT$121.8 billion (US$4.2 billion).
1. Taiwan presently has 692 megawatts (MW) of installed wind capacity, including 8 MW from the nation’s first two offshore demonstration wind turbines that are now grid-connected and in commercial operation. Both turbines were built under the four-year wind power promotion plan, which aims to install 1.334 GW in wind capacity.
2. The government has completed strategic environmental assessments on the development of offshore wind power sites, and is pushing to develop viable sites.
3. Wind power plans for four ports have been completed: Port of Taichung (offshore wind power industrial park and operation base), Kaohsiung’s Xinda Port and Port of Taipei’s south wharf area (underwater foundational piers), and a fishing port under construction in Changhua (operation and maintenance pier).
4. Several industry giants have come to Taiwan to set up Asia-Pacific regional offices or operational headquarters, including the world’s largest offshore wind power developer Ørsted, and wind turbine manufacturers Enercon and Siemens Gamesa.

C. Smart electricity meter installation
Objectives: Install 3 million smart meters by 2024 while promoting development in related industries. Generate NT$41.3 billion (US$1.4 billion) in industrial output value over 2017 to 2024.
1. Smart meters have been installed for demonstration in 1,000 smart homes.
2. Two hundred thousand smart meters are expected to be installed in 2018, with demonstration smart meters to be installed in 5,000 smart homes by the end of that year.

D. Shalun Green Energy Science City
Shalun Green Energy Science City will be the future home of an industrial innovation cluster linking the corporate, academic and research sectors, serving as an R&D hub and demonstration site for the nation’s clean energy tech industries. The world-class city of smart ecosystems will showcase Taiwan’s technological prowess and is expected to attract over 2,200 personnel from research organizations, academic institutions and industry while bringing in private investments of NT$4 billion (US$136.8 million) by 2021.

IV. Remove regulatory and institutional barriers
A. The National Renewable Energy Certification Center was inaugurated on June 12, 2017 to establish a trusted credentialing standard. It oversees all certification of domestic renewable energy facilities and conducts energy source inspection and verification as required for certification.
B. The Green Finance Action Plan was launched to help clean energy operators obtain funding for growth. Under the plan, a green bond market was created in the second quarter of 2017, and so far domestic banks have provided green energy enterprises with business loans of over NT$1 trillion (US$34.2 billion) while insurance companies have invested NT$5.35 billion (US$183 million) in clean energy projects.
C. The Executive Yuan passed draft amendments to the Renewable Energy Development Act on January 11, 2018 to codify the 20 percent renewable energy goal into law, and lay out the responsibilities of large electricity consumers toward clean energy.

V. Conclusion
Green energy technologies are becoming the new engine of Taiwan’s energy transformation and economic development. The government will continue promoting industrial innovation and growth for green energy tech and related industries, while attracting foreign investors and creating new jobs for local communities. Taiwan will also transform its energy structure in a way that promotes its objectives for energy security, environmental sustainability, and a green economy.