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Home > News & Events > CPC hosts the New Energy Leadership Forum

CPC hosts the New Energy Leadership Forum

CPC hosts the New Energy Leadership Forum

 

CPC hosts the New Energy Leadership Forum

9 January 2017

The spacious auditorium in CPC headquarters was the venue on 24 August 2016 for the New Energy Leadership Forum – an event hosted and co-organized by CPC in collaboration with PwC and the Low Carbon Initiative established by the European Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan (ECCT).

In his speech of welcome, CPC Vice President, CFO and Spokesperson Ray Chang noted that 2016 was CPC’s 70th anniversary year and an appropriate moment for the company to demonstrate its commitment to developing a larger role for new, low-carbon forms of energy – within the context of Taiwan’s adherence to both the Paris 2015 COP 21 protocols and locally-evolved measures for limiting potential climate change.

These were again mentioned in the opening address delivered by Dr Chih-kung Lee, Minister at the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). The Forum was timely, he said, as there had been vigorous discussion in the new government’s first 100 days of the challenge posed by maintaining Taiwan’s economic growth momentum consistent with abiding by the Paris accords. Further, there was the question of how the field of new energy – chiefly offshore wind and solar - could provide meaningful revenue for Taiwan’s companies and jobs for its people. That said, new energy is a high-risk enterprise with correspondingly high profit potential but it requires sustained, long-term investment.

The theme of Taiwan’s adherence to the Paris climate change accords was echoed by ECCT Chairman Bernd Barkey, who described them as a watershed moment for the 196 countries that had signed up to participate. He noted that Taiwan had in fact gone further, in terms of domestic legislation to control greenhouse gas emissions and a commitment to new energy contributing 20% of the total energy mix and electric vehicles constituting 20% of the total on the road, both by 2020. But, he said, the government needs to come up with a master-plan that coordinates policy activities across the energy spectrum; and the ECCT, with its Low Carbon Initiative, stands ready to help.

In his address, Daniel Chu – President of PwC in Taiwan – saw an opportunity for Taiwan to carve out a global niche, leadership even, in the development and application of new energy technologies. Both the availability of finance and government support would be key to fulfilling that aspiration. He noted that PwC had organized a number of energy-related forums and expressed the hope that this gathering would generate ideas for speeding-up development.

The keynote speech was delivered by Dr Lin Chuan-neng (林全能), Director General of the Bureau of Energy within the MOEA, who took as his theme the importance of two things: Taiwan developing its renewable energy sector so that it can then in turn help realize the national aspiration to safe, clean, reliable sources of energy within the ‘nuclear-free homeland’ context; and the establishment and growth of green industries. It will also require big improvements in energy conservation and efficiency in use on the demand side and equally large advances in power generation and storage technologies on the supply side. In all of this the government will have to take the lead, setting out clear policy directives and R&D KPIs and also, crucially, keeping the public informed.

In his remarks as moderator of the first speaker session, Dr Eugene Chien – President and Board Chairman of the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE) - reiterated that the COP 21 agreement entailed a commitment to actions that would limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, chief among them being a shift towards sustainable energy. There is some evidence of this already happening: the previous year, 2015, saw investment in renewables reach a record USD290 billion. Meanwhile coal is still a global USD268 billion business and it is emerging economies, not the more technologically advanced countries,  that are its best customers. A substantial part of Taiwan’s power still comes from coal and, Dr Chien averred, we need to be moving away from that position.

Dr Chien was immediately followed by Dr Huang Dong-li, Director of CPC’s Green Technology Research Institute, who described the work being done on new formulations of green fuels designed to lower greenhouse gas emission levels while also conserving fossil fuel resources. She was followed by Marsden Hanna, lead executive at Google for Global Energy Policy and Markets, who described the company’s stance (shared by some 60% of the Fortune 500) since 2007 as aiming to have 100% of the 2.5 GW consumed by its data centers supplied by renewables – although this was not yet possible for its Asian centers in Taiwan and Singapore. There is a problem in that data centers need consistent power but renewables – wind and solar – are intermittent producers and storage technology is not yet sufficiently advanced; moreover they have to be built in specific (windy or sunny) areas that are not necessarily near the user.

Next to the podium was Bart Linssen, Chairman and COO of Enercon Taiwan – already a player in the local onshore wind-power sector as provider, installer and maintainer of the equipment. Relatively bullish on the future, he pointed out that apart from generating much-needed power, wind farms provided both employment opportunities and social investment in their neighboring communities; and they can be sited almost anywhere, including in industrial parks next to major power users. There is a problem, though, in the approval and licensing process: here it can take 5-10 years as against one year in Germany.

The session was rounded out by Chang Shi-long, an Assistant Vice President in the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs at China Steel Corporation. Mr Chang described how China Steel is involved in four aspects of green energy – offshore wind (as a supply chain member), biofuels, storage technology and fuel cells. The company already operates recycling centers all over Taiwan that feed the waste-burning plant providing much of its base load power requirement; CO2 emissions are low and they are confident of producing auto fuel from the feedstock material.

After a break for refreshments came the second panel session, moderated by Daniel Chu of PwC. The first speaker, R.T. Tsai - a Vice President at Delta Electronics – described how his company’s ‘Plan 5’ commits them to extensive engagement in developing a number of clean and green low-consumption energy solutions that include LED public lighting, large-scale solar arrays and electric vehicle charging stations. Further, its own research center is a gold-rated green building powered by geothermal energy. Second up was Dereck Devlin, General Manager of Atlas Copco in Taiwan, who took energy saving – one of his company’s core competencies - as his theme: one customer saved 68% of their energy costs by installing Atlas Copco equipment. He told the forum that 35-40% of global energy is used in manufacturing and of that some 2-3% goes into factory lighting; chillers and air-conditioning account for 15%. They estimate that about 10% of total energy is, unfortunately, wasted.

The panel’s third participant, Kong Po-Chen – a Vice President at Schneider Electric – related how his company’s core competency of efficient energy solutions was being applied to new energy sources. This mainly takes the form of advanced, cloud-based monitoring and control systems for PV assets that optimize performance, maintenance and the aggregation of operating data. Finally, K.H. Chen, President of Sinogreenergy – a company developing and managing solar power installations – gave a summary of the present state of PV generation and the challenges facing its future.

Asked to sum up their companies’ guiding principles, panelists responded thus: Delta – just do it!; Atlas Copco – saving energy takes top priority; Schneider Electric – managing the process of energy-saving; Sinogreenergy – predicting the ups and downs in energy supply.

The New Energy Leadership Forum, hosted by CPC, provided an invaluable opportunity for all participants to get up to speed on Taiwan’s transition to an energy environment in which renewables will play an increasingly important role on the supply side and IT will enable advances in managing demand.