Wed, Oct 15, 2003 - Page 4 News List

MOE signs on to help promote solar energy

GERMAN EXPERTISE The Ministry of Education has enlisted the help of two groups in Germany to encourage utilization of the sun's rays for energy

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The German Society for Solar Energy (DGS) has promised to help train technicians to use solar energy and provide education about utilizing solar energy, according to a memorandum signed yesterday by officials from the DGS and the Ministry of Education.

DGS executive Uwe Hartmann and Solar School Berlin chief Wolfgang Rosenthal visited Taiwan for a week at the ministry's invitation to explain Germany's achievements in renewable energy in the past 10 years, along with its national policies to promote solar energy.

The two men, who are also the members of German federal government's Energy Policy Committee, left Taipei late yesterday after signing the memorandum.

"In the past five years, Germany has put a lot of effort into studying solar energy and has promoted the application of solar energy in everyday life. At present, the output value of the renewable energy has outweighed that of the shipbuilding industry in Germany," Hartmann told a news conference yesterday.

"We found that Taiwan has abundant solar energy, twice as much as Germany does, as well as wind energy," he said. "I believe Taiwan has the potential to develop solar energy to generate electric power and for other uses," he said.

He said Taiwan's high consumption of electricity in the summer because of the use of air conditioners could be relieved by using more solar energy.

"I think it was a wrong for Taiwan to continue building nuclear power plants, yet push "a nuclear-free nation. It makes no sense," he said.

Hartmann noted that Germany's energy policy calls for the country's 19 nuclear-power plants to be shut down by 2050. Emissions of carbon dioxide should also be cut by 80 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels.

"Renewable energy will account for 50 percent of the total energy consumption by then," he said.

"The power failures that have happened in the United States and Italy have enlightened us about the limits of exhaustible energy. We have to seek an energy [source] that is more sustainable, secure and environmentally friendly," he said.

Vice Minister of Education Fan Sun-lu (范巽綠), who is also vice president of the National Council for Sustainable Development, has been a key promoter of energy education and research.

Fan told the news conference that the ministry will launch a program at the National Taipei University of Technology, with the assistance of Solar School Berlin, at the beginning of next year to train engineers, technicians and teachers in the research and promotion of solar energy

"Taiwan is still virgin territory in terms of exploiting solar energy," Fan said. "In order to carry out the idea of sustainable development and increase Taiwan's competitiveness, we have to catch up soon in the research and the application in renewable energy."

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