New Taipei City is best at ‘green’ energy: report

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Sep 13, 2018 - Page 3

New Taipei City was ranked No. 1 in its enforcement of “green” energy and energy conservation policies, according to a report published by an alliance of clean energy groups.

The alliance previously published a report in 2015 evaluating local governments’ performance in conserving energy.

In September last year, it started to evaluate again how well local governments enforce both energy conservation and green energy policies.

New Taipei City was unanimously ranked by members of the evaluation committee as No. 1 because it has shown its determination in enforcing green energy policies through specific actions, the alliance said.

The city government has worked with large chain stores to build energy conservation initiatives, which in turn encouraged each chain store to offer special discounts to reward customers for saving energy, the alliance said, adding that a national energy information platform was also included its introduction of energy policies.

Pingtung County, which has a large agricultural sector, was ranked No. 2 for effectively conserving electricity used in agriculture, the alliance said.

According to the report, 18 percent of the county’s electricity is used in the agricultural sector.

The report also showed that the electricity used in Pingtung’s agricultural sector rose by 27 percent last year, but this year the county has stepped up its efforts to research the possibility of installing energy-conserving motors and turning agricultural waste and pig excrement into energy, it said.

The New Taipei City and Pingtung County governments also secured the No. 1 and No. 2 rankings resepectively in the alliance’s 2015 evaluation.

Taipei’s ranking fell to No. 9 this year, as members of the evaluation committee found that the city had ignored the importance of the participation of members of the public in government initiatives, the alliance said, adding that the city also failed to effectively integrate resources from various departments to ensure the success of its energy initiatives.

Taichung fared worst in its implementation of either energy conservation or green energy policies among the six special municipalities, the report showed.

In comparison, Taoyuan’s ranking improved to No. 4 as it has elevated the level of the agency in charge of all affairs related to enforcement of the city’s green energy policies.

Chiayi is another city government whose ranking has substantially improved, the alliance said.

Yang Shun-mei (楊順美), who is secretary-general of anti-nuclear group Mom Loves Taiwan, also said that New Taipei City has a specific agency in charge of coordinating with the different stakeholders, adding that it has a clear strategy of how it should implement green energy and energy conservation policies.

“Pingtung County demonstrates that one does not have to become one of the special municipalities to perform well in the executions of green energy policy. In addition to turning agricultural waste into energy, the county has also pushed the increased use of solar energy,” she said.

Yunlin County and Yunlin City are two other examples local governments that have achieved extraordinary performances without the resources of a special municipality, Yang said.

Yunlin City, ranked No. 6, has a specific plan for the diverse development of renewable energy, whereas Chiayi was ranked No. 7 for introducing a project to have 1,000 houses in the city powered by solar energy, she said.

Green Citizen Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said that the evaluation contained qualitative and quantitative parts.

The qualitative part examined if members of the public can participate in green energy initiatives, if a local government stipulates its own energy regulations and mobilizes resources from the government well as the private sector to enforce them, Hung said.

The quantitative part gauges the growth of electricity consumption per capita, as well as aggregate electricity consumption in each city or county, Hung said, adding that it also factors in the increase in green energy consumption.

Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan director Tsai Hui-hsun (蔡卉荀) said that while it is important for local government officials to develop green energy policies, they must also make sure that they do not create controversies when they select locations to install new facilities.