Thu, Sep 05, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Renewable energy needs clear policies, education

STRATEGY WORKSHOP:Experts from industry and academia in the US and the UK offered ideas for Taiwan as it seeks to boost its alternative energy production

By Natasha Li  /  Staff reporter

Foreign entrepreneurs and Taiwanese academics yesterday urged the government to develop clear policies and foster consensus among the public if the nation wants to develop renewable energy sources and increase renewables’ proportion of the nation’s overall energy makeup to 20 percent by 2025.

“There is, of course, a need for stable government policies on renewable energy, as this is an industry that needs long-term investments for it to develop,” Bill Chiu (邱維倫), managing director for grid modernization and resiliency at Southern California Edison Co, told a news conference at a workshop on strategies for a sustainable energy future held by the Industrial Technology Research Institute (工研院) in Taipei.

“However, that brings us another important thing to consider... How to involve the public in the development of renewable energy?” Chiu said.

It is important to have public support in the drive for more renewable energy in this nation, he added.

Chong Ng (黃宗華), head of applied research of ORE Catapult, a UK-based innovation and research center for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, said that support from the public would eventually come as the industry develops, which was the case with the UK’s wind power industry.

“People will start seeing the benefits [of adopting renewable energy] once the industry starts to mature, since the costs would come down,” Ng said.

The development of wind farms would attract more talent and business opportunities to Taiwan, stimulating its economy, he said.

“Education is very important too. We need to get more [local] research centers and universities involved,” he said.

As the nation is still taking baby steps in the development of renewable energy, it is natural for it to face technical challenges head-on, which always arise with the installation of electrical grids, said Lee Wei-jen (李偉仁), director of the Energy Systems Research Center at the University of Texas at Arlington.

“Take [for example] Taiwan’s wind power industry ... how do we transfer electricity in a steady and efficient manner all the while maintaining the quality?” Lee said.

The industry needs to have a complete system to manage the intermittent character of generating wind power, he said.

Local authorities should shed more light on the inner workings of renewable energy industries as unclear policies often create murky waters where blame shifting and work inefficiencies can occur, he added.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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