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Go-ahead for Tainan’s Green Energy Science Park in Shalun

 

Building on the strength of Tainan’s green energy industry clusters, the city government has in recent years been putting great effort into policies for establishing Tainan as a solar-power and low-carbon city. With solid foundations already in place for the upstream-to-downstream development of Tainan’s green energy industry, it is the ideal location for the establishment of a green energy science park as the flagship of central government policy to promote green energy. The Executive Yuan’s approval to build such a park at Shalun will give a strong boost to the industry, enabling it to increase renewable energy to 20% of Taiwan’s energy sources in 2025. As Taiwan increasingly harnesses renewable energy, it will decreasingly need to use nuclear power in its energy mix. Then the goal of a nuclear-free homeland can be turned into reality earlier.

Internationally, wind power and solar power are the main targets of investment in renewable energy. Taiwan depends on imports for 98% of its energy, burning coal and LNG as its biggest and second biggest sources of power generation. Total power generation, which reached 258 billion kilowatt hours in 2015, is growing at an average annual rate of 3.36%. Against this background, the government is targeting renewable energy development as a main component of energy policy planning.

Since 2010, Taiwan’s percentage of energy generated from renewable sources has been rising on the back of technological advances and falling costs at home and abroad, and is projected to climb from 4.06% at present to 20% in 2025. With the government launching a 2-year plan to expand solar power generation and a 4-year plan to promote wind power generation, investment in these two power sources could reach NT$1.7 trillion.  

The Shalun Green Energy Science Park project, set to be actively implemented by Tainan City Government in collaboration with the central government, will mainly focus on research and development in solar power, offshore wind power, lithium batteries, hydrogen energy and fuel cells, energy information systems, and LEDs, with sights set on breaking through bottlenecks and upgrading existing technologies.

The city government has mapped out three main strategies for the park’s development. The first strategy is for the integration of R&D, technologies and talent. This will be done by combining basic research of domestic academic institutions and applied research of domestic research institutions with technical innovation, localization and commercialization of industrial development. Domestic research personnel will be brought together for these purposes and supplemented by attracting international talent to work in the park.

The second strategy is for the formation of international connections, bringing in technologies from major international corporations such as Hitachi, Tesla, Toyota, Siemens, Dong Energy and DNV GL, and linking in to the penetration of rapidly growing international markets. According to projections, global wind and solar power demand will reach 637 gigawatts in 2018, while the LED market will be worth 111.3 billion US dollars.

The third strategy is to aim for creating a green energy ecosystem that is conducive to technical innovation, with the Shalun park at the center, connecting with local industries, supporting local green industry development through domestic demand for green energy, and reaching out into international markets.

Tainan’s green energy industry already possesses a very strong base. This includes strengths in the manufacture of metal products, machinery and equipment, auto parts, and electric power equipment. It is well positioned for future transition and upgrading into green industries such as solar power, LED lighting, and smart electric vehicles. These strengths also provide the foundations for a green energy industry ecosystem. The city government holds high hopes that the Shalun Green Energy Science Park will enable Tainan to expand its international connections and become a green energy policy and R&D hub.

Tainan City Government will actively implement a broad range of measures to assist green energy industry development. These include support for the Taiwan Green Technology Industry Alliance, subsidies for innovation R&D, SBIR seed funding for small business innovation research, help for participating in exhibitions at home and abroad, matchmaking for award-winning green energy products and inventions, and holding the annual Biotechnology and Green Energy Expo. A budget of NT$380 million for investment in R&D is projected to create output value of NT$655 million and help enterprises open up market opportunities worth NT$500 million.

Tainan already has 192 enterprises in the green energy industry, constituting 14.07% of all such enterprises in Taiwan. These enterprises employ 31,890 people, which is 45.58% of Taiwan’s total employment in this industry. Their business turnover of NT$128.1 billion is 27.16% of the national total. The Shalun Green Energy Science Park project is a key part of the central government’s policy initiative to develop Taiwan’s industry ecosystem for technical innovation in green energy. It is targeted at serving the four core purposes of energy saving, energy creation, energy storage, and energy system integration. 

There are four stages in the timeframe for establishing Shalun Green Energy Science Park. The first stage involves preliminary planning and approvals, including setting up the preparatory office and submitting public construction plans to the Executive Yuan in October 2016, for decision on approval by the year’s end; completing the environmental impact assessment and development plan review by May 2017; completing the planning review and issuance of a construction license for the park’s research institute by July 2017; and commencing construction of the institute by October 2017. 

In the second stage, construction of the park’s demonstration area will commence in January 2018. In the third stage, scheduled for December 2019, the research institute will be completed and start to receive personnel. The fourth stage, scheduled for March 2020, will see completion of the demonstration area and enterprises moving in. Tainan City Government will do its utmost to ensure that all relevant measures are in place to match the planning needs for this park. It hopes and expects that the Shalun Green Energy Science Park will, in the future, play a leading role in propelling the development of Taiwan’s entire green energy industry.