Taiwan’s Smart Grid Success Attracts UK Partnership

  • Posted on: 15 December 2012
  • By: Patrick Oliphant

In 2011 Taiwan’s County of Penghu launched its smart gird initiative at an estimated cost of NT$8.09 billion they hope to make Penghu a low-carbon destination.  The Penghu smart grid project will run from 2011 to 2015 and over that period it hopes to reduce it carbon emissions per person from 5.4 tons each year to 2.1 tons. The UK government and its European neighbours have set themselves similar targets of improving energy management and cutting carbon emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020.

Sighting their common smart grid efforts, the “UK-Taiwan Partnership Towards Low Carbon Economy” was launched to promote relationship between both countries. Last month Penghu County and Cornwall Council in the UK signed a Protocol of Collaboration; agreeing that they will jointly promote research, share information and promote development efforts in smart grids and related areas.

For the estimated billions that the Taiwanese hope to invest they have ambitious plans for the island of Penghu and the wider Taiwanese economy. At the launch of the project the Minister of Economics, Shih Yen-Shiang said the island will have up to 4000 LED street lights installed and some 2106 homes getting smart meters along with 1000 photovoltaic boilers, replacing home appliances with ones that are more energy efficient and the provision of about 6000 electric motorcycles.

Penghu wants to have 56 per cent of its energy need to come from renewable sources, thus they plan to setup wind farms that are capable of generating 96 megawatt per year by 2015.

The UK on the other hand said they have set aside over £500 million for smart grid trials and millions more to supporting complementary technology, such as electric vehicle recharging. They have also estimated to spend £8.6bn on smart meters and hope to roll out smart meters into 53 million homes by the end of 2020. Cornwall County which was the focus of the partnership will setup their own smart grid project, funded by the EU. Wadebridge, a community with a population of about 10,000 has been selected as a test for the generation of renewable energy.

Both countries also pointed out that their respective economy will benefit from income generated from smart grid and it related industries. Taiwan like Cornwall (which received over 4M tourists each summer) is looking at income that will be generated from green tourism.

It is estimated that 10,000 new high skilled jobs could be created by the UK smart grid sector and the value of the smart grid goods and services to the UK economy will be £13 billion and that UK smart grid export could be worth more than £5 billion, according to Ernst and Young.  Penghu has the potential to generate more green energy that it needs and could sell some of it to mainland Taiwan.