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Taiwan Transitions to Net-Zero Emissions with Advanced Technologies

Smart phone technology concept

Transitioning to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is not only an environmental issue but also an economic one, and represents both a challenge and an opportunity for Taiwan’s competitiveness. Taiwan encouraged full participation from the public and private sectors, as well as the general public while emphasising that the government will not leave any group behind on the path to achieve energy transition but will instead look for ways to attain shared prosperity throughout the next three decades’ marathon of challenges.

Given the growing demand for carbon border adjustment mechanisms and green supply chains, carbon emissions will soon become a strong determining factor in industrial competitiveness, posing a tremendous challenge for foreign trade-oriented economies such as Taiwan. This means that any economy that seizes on key emission-cutting technological innovations will be able to gain a competitive edge.

In response to the global trend towards net-zero, Taiwan aims to integrate the net-zero concept into the philosophies of all governance and implementations. As an example of mobilising self-transition in the public sector, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) suggested that offices may examine the connections between their work and the target of net-zero emissions at weekly internal meetings.

MOEA proposed a 2×2 framework for the transition to net zero, which consists of a “low carbon – zero emissions” dimension and an “energy – industries” dimension. Under this plan, the immediate priority is to promote mature technologies in green power generation and carbon reduction as a way to shift industries and their energy consumption to a low-carbon state. In the long run, the industries will invest in advanced technologies, such as hydrogen energy, circular economy, and carbon capture, storage and utilisation, to transition from low to zero carbon.

Since the launch of the energy transition policy, the MOEA has overcome multiple challenges and increased the installed capacity of renewable energy at a rapid pace. The installed capacity of solar PV has grown more than fourfold in 4 years, and two offshore wind farms have been connected to the grid – a testament to the government’s ability to implement energy transition policies.

In shifting our energy system from low-carbon to net-zero, it is essential to identify key technologies with the potentials of domestic development and scaling up. The Ministry has consulted with experts in all energy areas in Taiwan and selected 55 decarbonisation technologies that we can potentially develop locally. Besides solar and offshore wind power, focus areas will also include other renewable sources, including geothermal power, which can both cover base loads and be scaled up domestically. Moreover, innovations in energy storage and system integration, which are vital to energy reliability, will also be key focuses in the future.

– Wang Mei-hua, Minister of Economic Affairs 

Regarding industry’s transition to net-zero, state-owned businesses are the leaders in Taiwan’s basic industry sector, and the MOEA has initiated their net-zero transition plans early this year. They are expected to serve as pioneers in their respective industries, rallying downstream suppliers to decarbonise. Large corporations are encouraged to cooperate with smaller companies throughout supply chains and share best practices and technologies of emission reduction.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, while the world is experiencing the COVID-19 outbreak since 2020, the most searched keyword in 2021 is net-zero emissions. This implies that climate change is going to be another battlefield because no country is immune to its effects, including Taiwan.

Therefore, in the process of developing smart cities, Taiwan has begun to explore ways to combine technology with commerce to create a new green economy while finding a new powerful engine for the industry and cities in support of international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ultimately, Taiwan aims to build urban resilience and usher into a new era of urban and environmental sustainability.

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