German envoy touts green technology

FORUM::Michael Zickerick urged the Taiwanese government to pursue development and application of green technologies, which could create jobs and conserve energy

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 - Page 5

Germany’s envoy to Taiwan urged the government to engage more actively in the development of renewable energy resources and said that his office is organizing low-carbon city forums next month to facilitate interaction between experts from both countries.

German Institute Taipei Director-General Michael Zickerick said in an interview with the Central News Agency that there was no shortage of knowledge or lack of interest in renewable energy in Taiwan, but that action at a city level was not being taken fast enough.

“Engagement in Taiwan could be stronger,” he said, referring to efforts to improve the development of green technologies.

He also cited examples of wasteful energy consumption in the nation, such as Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport’s overuse of air-conditioning.

“It’s such a waste of energy,” Zickerick said, adding that the question was not how to modernize air-conditioning technology, but how to construct “green” buildings that autonomously manage temperature.

Zickerick, 64, said the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster, caused by a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan nearly two years ago, has prompted Germany to move away from nuclear power.

It makes him “uneasy” to think that Taiwan also has nuclear reactors and faces possible threats from tsunamis, he added.

To facilitate exchanges between Taiwan and Germany on renewable energy sources, he said that the German Institute Taipei is scheduled to launch a second round of low-carbon city forums along with the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy on March 12 and March 14 in Taipei and Greater Tainan, focusing on green buildings.

Up to 500 experts attended the first round of forums, which were held over four days in November 2011 in Greater Tainan, Greater Taichung, Yilan and New Taipei City (新北市), Zickerick said.

Developing and applying green technologies could save Taiwan a “tremendous amount of money,” he said.

He added that Germany once thought that such developments, in addition to wasting time and money, would contribute to unemployment, but in fact they helped to create more than 1 million jobs.