Tai­wan un­veils en­ergy pol­icy and fu­ture devel­op­ment

The China Post - - SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT - BY ANITA YANG & CHI-HAO JAMES LO Sup­ple­ment Writ­ers

Tai­wan is a beau­ti­ful na­tion with an amaz­ing cul­tural and ge­o­graph­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment, but it lacks suf­fi­cient nat­u­ral re­sources. Ever since the 1960-70 era of industrial ad­vance­ment, Tai­wan’s econ­omy has grown rapidly and a great amount of im­ported en­ergy re­sources was re­quired to main­tain the grow­ing econ­omy. In or­der to pro­vide the needed en­ergy, the en­ergy pol­icy in the early days fo­cused on se­cu­rity is­sues and suf­fi­cient sup­ply. The pol­icy helped build a com­plete and healthy de­mand/sup­ply sys­tem for Tai­wan, con­trib­uted to sta­ble prices and played a cru­cial role in boost­ing the eco­nomic growth of the time.

As con­cerns over en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues con­tinue to de­velop, an equiv­a­lent con­cern is grow­ing over cli­mate change prob­lems caused by the green­house gas ef­fect. In 1998, The Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties (COP) of the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change ( UNFCCC) signed the Ky­oto Pro­to­col, which listed the goals de­signed to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions. As a small coun­try with a dense pop­u­la­tion, Tai­wan still re­lies heav­ily on tra­di­tional fos­sil fuel to sup­port its eco­nomic devel­op­ment. Un­til 1997, Tai­wan’s CO2 emis­sions had al­ready reached over 170 mil­lion tons. Fac­ing the Ky­oto Pro­to­col chal­lenge, although Tai­wan is not in­volved as a party, the coun­try has still cho­sen to take on the re­spon­si­bil­ity as a mem­ber of the global vil­lage and vol­un­tar­ily re­vises its en­ergy pol­icy to fur­ther the ob­jec­tive of pur­su­ing a sus­tain­able en­vi­ron­ment while pre­serv­ing eco­nomic growth.

The Ex­ec­u­tive Yuan passed the Sus­tain­able En­ergy Pol­icy Frame­work (永續能源政策綱領) in June 2008. The frame­work con­sists of ob­jec­tives such as “in­crease en­ergy ef­fi­ciency: in­crease more than 2 per­cent of en­ergy ef­fi­ciency ev­ery year for eight con­sec­u­tive years,” and “de­velop clean en­ergy: de­crease CO2 emis­sions through­out the whole na­tion with the goal to have the emis­sions of 2008 in 2016 to 2020 and the emis­sions of 2000 in 2025.” Th­ese aims rep­re­sent a hope of de­tach­ing eco­nomic growth from the boost­ing of green­house gas emis­sions. Th­ese ini­tia­tives fur­ther aim to cre­ate a low-car­bon econ­omy and to foster a sus­tain­able en­vi­ron­ment. Tai­wan’s en­ergy pol­icy has thus been al­tered to place em­pha­sis on sus­tain­able en­ergy as its main pol­icy.

En­ergy Devel­op­ment Guide­line and Guide­lines of Na­tional En­ergy Pol­icy

To achieve a bal­anced devel­op­ment of “3E,” namely en­ergy, econ­omy and en­vi­ron­ment, Tai­wan passed the mod­i­fied ar­ti­cles of the En­ergy Man­age­ment Act (能源管理法) in 2009. The ar­ti­cles de­clare that in con­sid­er­a­tion of the chang­ing con­di­tions of do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional en­ergy con­di­tions, Tai­wan’s en­ergy se­cu­rity and peo­ple’s ba­sic needs re­gard­ing liveli­hood must be en­sured amid en­deav­ors to­ward en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and eco­nomic devel­op­ment. In ad­di­tion, in or­der to en­sure so­cial and cross-gen­er­a­tional jus­tice, an En­ergy Devel­op­ment Guide­line was es­tab­lished in 2012. This was the first guide­line on en­ergy pol­icy to be au­tho­rized un­der Tai­wan law, es­tab­lish­ing struc­tured en­ergy devel­op­ment guide­lines and prin­ci­ples that are con­sid­ered the ba­sic norms for all mea­sures pro­moted by ev­ery gov­ern­ment depart­ment.

The En­ergy Devel­op­ment Guide­line cov­ers three main pol­icy prin­ci­ples, namely se­cu­rity, ef­fi­ciency and eco-friend­li­ness. First, it puts em­pha­sis on the sta­bil­ity of en­ergy sup­pli­ers and ori­gins. In ad­di­tion to a bal­anced sup­ply and de­mand of en­ergy, nor­mal op­er­a­tions and com­plete risk man­age­ment for the sys­tem are also re­quired. Se­condly, the frame­work was de­signed to strengthen en­ergy-use man­age­ment and to bol­ster en­ergy trans­for­ma­tion, dis­tri­bu­tion and us­age ef­fi­ciency, which can pro­vide added value to en­ergy con­sump­tion. Thirdly, by de­vel­op­ing low-car­bon en­ergy and through the use of low-car­bon tech­nol­ogy, the frame­work can help re­duce the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact that comes from en­ergy devel­op­ment.

Pro­mo­tional as­pects of the frame­work in­clude de­mand-end, sup­ply-end and sys­tem-end. The de­mand-end’s main fo­cus is on pe­ri­od­i­cal and re­gional cap and trade as well as en­hance­ments of de­part­men­tal en­ergy us­age ef­fi­ciency. Rea­son­able en­ergy use and en­ergy sav­ing is be­ing pro­moted to re­duce the trend of grow­ing de­mand. Due to a dwin­dling en­ergy sup­ply and the con­tin­u­ous in­crease of de­mand, de­vel­op­ing al­ter­na­tive meth­ods of en­ergy in­de­pen­dence and re­al­iz­ing a sta­bi­lized en­ergy sup­ply have be­come the main fo­cus. Hence, im­prove­ments on en­ergy struc­ture as well as di­ver­si­fied en­ergy sources have both been ac­cen­tu­ated. More­over, con­sid­er­ing the im­por­tance of the en­ergy de­mand-sup­ply bal­ance as well as over­all ef­fi­ciency en­hance­ment, sys­tem-end think­ing is in­cor­po­rated into the frame­work to fa­cil­i­tate pro­mo­tion and ac­cel­er­a­tion to­ward the na­tion’s ul­ti­mate goals.

The idea of sus­tain­able en­ergy still needs to be in­cor­po­rated via po­lit­i­cal mea­sures at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment, there­fore two sets of mech­a­nism packages have been de­signed to com­ple­ment one an­other. Ac­cord­ing to the new plan, low-car­bon mea­sures and legal sup­port mech­a­nisms are based on an ef­fec­tive legal in­fra­struc­ture, and en­ergy con­ser­va­tion should be taken into ac­count in the na­tion’s ad­min­is­tra­tive plans, in­fra­struc­ture es­tab­lish­ments and in­dus­try devel­op­ment. As for the re­sponse mech­a­nism and risk man­age­ment mech­a­nisms, both are de­signed to en­sure the con­tin­u­ous op­er­a­tion of the na­tion’s en­ergy sys­tem, while at the same time tak­ing into ac­count is­sues of sup­ply and de­mand, as well as price fluc­tu­a­tions.

A Solid Pol­icy in Grad­ual Nu­clear Re­duc­tion with the Estab­lish­ment of a Nu­clear-free

Na­tion as the Ul­ti­mate Goal

The Fukushima Dai-ichi nu­clear dis­as­ter fo­cused the na­tion’s at­ten­tion to­ward sub­jects re­lat­ing to nu­clear en­ergy. As a re­sult, fol­low­ing a com­plete re­view of the na­tion’s nu­clear en­ergy poli­cies, the gov­ern­ment re­leased a new en­ergy devel­op­ment goal to guar­an­tee nu­clear safety, pro­mote a con­sis­tent de­crease in nu­clear de­pen­dency and es­tab­lish green en­ergy and low-car­bon en­vi­ron­ments, all of which are tai­lored to­ward the goal of a nu­clear-free home­land. The ob­jec­tives seek to ac­tively ful­fill var­i­ous car­bon-emis­sion and elec­tric­ity pro­vi­sion tar­gets un­der the three prin­ci­ples of en­sur­ing ad­e­quate elec­tric­ity sup­ply, sus­tain­ing rea­son­able prices of elec­tric­ity and ful­fill­ing the terms of the in­ter­na­tional car­bon emis­sions pact.

The pol­icy of grad­ual nu­clear re­duc­tion is pri­mar­ily based on the prin­ci­ple of nu­clear safety, and has since ad­vanced var­i­ous afore­men­tioned ob­jec­tives such as the Estab­lish­ment of Green En­ergy and Low Car­bon En­vi­ron­ments pro­gram that grad­u­ally low­ers the nu­clear de­pen­dency of the en­tire na­tion. The ini­tia­tive in­cludes a pro­gram that aims to meet de­mand re­quire­ments while ad­her­ing to the con­cepts of en­ergy con­ser­va­tion and the re­duc­tion of the na­tion’s de­pen­dence on elec­tric­ity. The pro­gram de­signed to main­tain ad­e­quate power sup­ply is gov­erned by the con­cept of low-car­bon en­ergy devel­op­ment in or­der to pro­mote re­new­able en­ergy, steady elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion and the re­duc­tion of car­bon emis­sions.

The gov­ern­ment also cur­rently ad­vo­cates var­i­ous im­ple­mented and com­pleted ob­jec­tives such as the pro­mo­tion of en­ergy con­ser­va­tion life­styles, the estab­lish­ment of the Four Sav­ings Pro­gram, co­op­er­a­tion with the cen­tral gov­ern­ment to ad­vance smart elec­tric­ity con­ser­va­tion, the trans­for­ma­tion of Penghu into a low-car­bon-emis­sion is­land, the in­stal­la­tion of mil­lions of so­lar panel roofs and the con­struc­tion of over a thou­sand wind tur­bines, so as to cre­ate ben­e­fi­cial non-nu­clear qual­i­fi­ca­tions to grad­u­ally achieve the am­bi­tion of a nu­clear-free home­land.

Un­der the gov­ern­ment’s ac­tive pro­mo­tion of var­i­ous ini­tia­tives, the na­tion’s low-car­bon-emis­sion en­ergy sources (gas and re­new­able en­ergy) have in­creased their share of the na­tion’s elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion per­cent­age from 16.5 per­cent in 2003 to 31.1 per­cent in 2014. Since the launch of the Re­new­able En­ergy Devel­op­ment Act, the vol­ume of pho­to­voltaic de­vices has had an ex­po­nen­tial 65-fold in­crease from 9.5MW in 2009 to 615.2MW in 2014.

The vol­ume of wind tur­bine de­vices has also in­creased by a fac­tor of 1.7, from 374.3 MW to 637.2 MW. In the case of elec­tric­ity de­ple­tion sup­pres­sion, the na­tion ac­com­plished the task of re­plac­ing the coun­try’s 696,700 traf­fic light bulbs with light-emit­ting diodes (LED) in 2011, be­com­ing the sec­ond coun­try in the world to com­pletely adopt the use of LEDs for the na­tion’s traf­fic lights. The gov­ern­ment has also ad­vanced the mer­cury-va­por lamp re­tire­ment plan that seeks to re­place all 692,000 of the na­tion’s street­lights with LEDs by 2016, which would al­low Tai­wan to be­come the first coun­try to com­pletely re­tire the use of mer­cury-va­por lamps.

How­ever, a nu­clear-free home­land is not a des­ti­na­tion eas­ily reached with a sim­ple leap, but one that is dic­tated by the ma­tu­rity of ob­jec­tive and sub­jec­tive cir­cum- stances. Due to such considerations, the gov­ern­ment has set up re­view mech­a­nisms to eval­u­ate the devel­op­ment progress of en­ergy tech­nol­ogy, the ex­e­cu­tion and the re­sult of nu­clear and car­bon-emis­sion de­crease pro­grams as well as the cur­rent level of car­bon-emis­sion con­trol. The mech­a­nisms will also re­view the timetable of nu­clear power de­crease ev­ery four years, which will eval­u­ate the na­tion’s level of nu­clear de­pen­dency so that a prac­ti­cal ap­proach to lead Tai­wan to­ward be­com­ing a nu­clear-free na­tion can be adopted.

Con­ver­sion to Green En­ergy to Vi­tal­ize

Fu­ture Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment

In light of the global trend to­ward car­bon-emis­sions re­duc­tion, and in an ef­fort to re­duce car­bon emis­sions pro­duced from the burning of fos­sil fu­els, Tai­wan has al­ready be­gun to ac­tively ad­vo­cate re­new­able en­ergy, which will fur­ther­more drive the progress of var­i­ous in­dus­tries, as well as vi­tal­ize the con­tin­ued ad­vance­ment of the en­tire na­tion. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Re­new­able En­ergy Devel­op­ment Act on July 8, 2009 was a firm foun­da­tion that paved the way for the fu­ture of the re­new­able en­ergy in­dus­try. The act has de­creed that the ca­pac­ity tar­get for industrial re­new­able en­ergy equip­ment that would gar­ner re­wards from the gov­ern­ment is be­tween 6.5 mil­lion kW to 10 mil­lion kW.

The act has jump­started the po­ten­tial of the re­new­able en­ergy in­dus­try in Tai­wan, and has since gar­nered in­ter­est from in­vestors in the lo­cal re­new­able en­ergy in­dus­try. In hopes of fur­ther re­fin­ing the dom­i­nance of re­new­able en­ergy in Tai­wan, the Min­istry of Eco­nomic Af­fairs (MOEA) con­duced two re­views and amend­ments to poli­cies so that in Jan­uary of 2014, the re­new­able en­ergy tar­get for 2030 was in­creased to 13,750 MW, which is a 26.6-per­cent rise from the 10,858 MW goal of 2010.

While ad­vo­cat­ing for re­new­able en­ergy and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of var­i­ous en­ergy con­ser­va­tion poli­cies, the gov­ern­ment has also ad­vanced the devel­op­ment of the green en­ergy in­dus­try. In April of 2009, the MOEA in­tro­duced the Green En­ergy In­dus­try Devel­op­ment Pro­gram to lead the na­tion to­ward green en­ergy progress through tech­ni­cal re­fine­ment, key fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments, en­vi­ron­men­tal en­gi­neer­ing, ex­port ex­pan­sion and the ad­vance­ment of lo­cal sales strate­gies. The en­tire value the green en­ergy in­dus­try in 2014 was cal­cu­lated at NT$484.4 bil­lion, which is twice the value com­pared to be­fore the green ini­tia­tive was ad­vo­cated in 2008.

Tai­wan’s prod­uct yield of so­lar bat­ter­ies is cur­rently ranked sec­ond glob­ally, with LED ma­te­ri­als ranked third in the world, and LED pan­els ranked sec­ond when tak­ing qual­ity into ac­count.

The Ex­ec­u­tive Yuan in 2014 gave its ap­proval to the green en­ergy plan, which aims to con­sol­i­date na­tional re­sources and push for­ward Tai­wan’s green sec­tors, such as so­lar power, wind tur­bine power, LED lu­mi­nance and en­ergy com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­tries. The gov­ern­ment has also used its re­sources to pro­mote the afore­men­tioned in­dus­tries through the con­ver­sion to high-value ser­vice de­vel­op­ments, the ex­pan­sion of over­seas sales and the speedy estab­lish­ment of global win­dows to cre­ate a solid mech­a­nism for Tai­wan’s green en­ergy in­dus­tries. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­grams would likely el­e­vate Tai­wan’s green en­ergy man­u­fac­tur­ers to achieve a mar­ket value of NT$1 tril­lion by 2020, as well as make 100,000 job op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able within the na­tion.

One Mech­a­nism, Two Meth­ods of En­ergy Con­ser­va­tion, Three Forms of En­ergy Re­newal

In the face pres­sure due to the an­nual in­crease in elec­tric­ity de­mand, a more di­verse en­ergy pol­icy is cur­rently needed. To so­lid­ify di­verse, prac­ti­cal and long-term en­ergy devel­op­ment, the MOEA’s Bureau of En­ergy pro­posed the so-called One Mech­a­nism, Two Ways of En­ergy Con­ser­va­tion, Three Forms of En­ergy Re­newal pol­icy goal. The “One Mech­a­nism” refers to a mar­ket mech­a­nism that val­ues trans­parency and open­ness, so that a just, ob­jec­tive and sus­tain­able mar­ket man­age­ment mech­a­nism may be con­structed, with the goal of ad­vanc­ing the qual­ity of Tai­wan’s en­ergy pro­vi­sion. The mech­a­nism could also serve as a ba­sis for fu­ture dis­cus­sions on green en­ergy adop­tion and nu­clear en­ergy abol­ish­ment.

The “Two Meth­ods of En­ergy Con­ser­va­tion” per­tains to a 2-per­cent de­crease in na­tional elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion, as well as en­ergy con­ser­va­tion en­force­ment over Tai­wan’s six most en­ergy-con­sum­ing in­dus­tries, which are the ce­ment, steel, pa­per mak­ing, elec­tron­ics and tex­tile in­dus­tries. The Na­tion­wide Elec­tric­ity Con­ser­va­tion Pro­gram adopted by the gov­ern­ment cur­rently seeks to re­duce na­tional elec­tric­ity use by 1 per­cent in the fol­low­ing year.

As such, the 2-per­cent goal of the “Two Meth­ods of En­ergy Con­ser­va­tion” fur­ther proves the de­ter­mi­na­tion of the gov­ern­ment. The pro­gram ad­vo­cates per­sonal benefits from elec­tric­ity con­ser­va­tion, con­vert­ing words into ac­tion so that the cen­tral gov­ern­ment may work closely with lo­cal gov­ern­ments to in­still pos­i­tive en­ergy con­ser­va­tion habits to sup­press and lower the in­crease in elec­tric­ity us­age.

The “Three Forms of En­ergy Re­newal” tar­gets the estab­lish­ment and ad­vance­ment of re­new­able en­ergy, such as the pro­mo­tion of pho­to­voltaic en­ergy sources, stim­u­la­tion of geo­ther­mal power pro­duc­tion and wind tur­bine en­ergy gen­er­a­tion. The gov­ern­ment has planned to in­crease the pro­mo­tion of the vol­ume of pho­to­voltaic en­ergy de­vices this year from 270 MW to 500 MW, as well as im­ple­ment an in­crease of the bud­get for such pro­mo­tions from NT$4.6 bil­lion to NT$5.3 bil­lion.

Look­ing back at the road of Tai­wan’s en­ergy pol­icy devel­op­ment, sev­eral chal­lenges posed by in­ter­na­tional and na­tional dif­fi­cul­ties can be ob­served. How­ever, such dif­fi­cul­ties were over­come more than once thanks to the solid en­ergy pro­grams and con­sis­tent pric­ing of en­ergy re­sources. Tai­wan will have to face more hard­ships in en­ergy devel­op­ment in the fu­ture, but un­der the con­certed ef­fort of the en­tire na­tion, Tai­wan will pre­vail and con­struct a solid foun­da­tion in steady en­ergy con­ser­va­tion devel­op­ment, through di­verse devel­op­ment, na­tion­wide con­ser­va­tion ef­forts, and the con­struc­tion of a more ef­fi­cient

en­ergy us­age mech­a­nism.

(Left) The in­au­gu­ra­tion of Asia Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art ini­ti­ates the ex­am­i­na­tion (Right) The Sun­flower In­de­pen­dent So­lar Power Sys­tem con­sists of six polysil­i­con so­lar pan­els with a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 680W. An­nual power gen­er­ated by the sys­tem is around 868kWh, which can re­duce CO2 emis­sions by up to 552 kilo­grams.

From front row fifth left, Huang Hung-lin, vice pres­i­dent of Tai­wan Power Com­pany, Wu Chin-shan, direc­tor gen­eral of the K-12 Ed­u­ca­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Cho Shih-chao, for­mer deputy eco­nomics min­is­ter, Wang Yunn-ming, direc­tor-gen­eral of the Bureau of En­ergy and Hu Yie-zu, direc­tor of ITRI’s Green En­ergy and En­vi­ron­ment Re­search Lab­o­ra­to­ries, pose for a photo at an en­ergy con­ser­va­tion award cer­e­mony last year.

The geo­ther­mal power plant in Ching­shui, Yi­lan is also one of the mea­sures taken to achieve sus­tain­able en­ergy.

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