Energy Transformation
[ New Publication ]
Energy Transition in East Asia
[ East Asia Energy Transformation Forum: Challenges and Prospects for Energy Transformation in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea ]
The Forum was held by RSPRC on 19 of Oct. The forum invited the following speakers: Professor Koichi HASEGAWA, from Tohoku University in Japan, also the author of "Post-Nuclear Society," Professor Sun-Jin YUN from Seoul National University, who helps to drive the policy for next nuclear power plant in Seoul, and Professor Dowan KU, Director of Environment and Society Research Institute in Korea.
[ 2017 Social Assessment Impact Lecture Series ]
The lecture was held by RSPRC on 26 of Oct,2017. Prof. dr. F.M.D. (Frank) Vanclay who is a well-known specialist of social assessment impact from University of Groningen, was invited to the lecture.
[ Prof. Dr. Hans Peter Peters Visit to RSPRC ]
Prof. Dr. Hans Peter Peters is the social scientist of Forschungszentrum Juelich and the Adjunct Professor of Freie Universität Berlin. He has long studied the formation of the scientific environment and public opinion in the media communication. He has as well as focused on the interaction between journalists and scientists and the impact of scientific knowledge on the public. Prof. Peters is a well-known German science communication specialist!
[ National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education(PIRE)'s Visit to RSPRC]
Prof. Everette Joseph and Prof. Terri Adams and other fellows of PIRE visited RSPRC on 22th March, 2017. They participated a forum held by RSPRC and Graduate Institute of National Development, NTU, that focus on climate change and disaster prevention.
[ Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn's Visit to RSPRC ]
Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn, Scientific Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany, participated the First International KLASICA Case Study Symposium at NTU. Prof. Dr. Kuei-Tien Chou, the director of RSPRC, with his colleagues, accompanied with Pro. Dr. Renn to visit the RSPRC office after the forum on 21th of November, 2016.
[ Ms. Bärbel Höhn's Visit to RSPRC ]
Ms. Bärbel Höhn, Chairperson of German Federal Diet, visited RSPRC on June 29th 2016. Ms. Bärbel Höhn later participated the "German Experience in Energy-Transition and Nuclear Waste Disposal Discussion Forum", in which she shared views on the issues related to climate change policy, energy transition and nuclear waste management.

Forum Series of Taiwan Risk Society Taiwan in Transition (TWiT): Initiating Energy Transformation

Wang, Yi-Yang, Research Assistant, RSPRC

Liu, Yi-Ting, Assistant Researcher, RSPRC
March 24, 2017

  The Risk Society and Policy Research Centre, NTU (RSPRC) held one of the forum series of Taiwan Risk Society, Taiwan in Transition (TWiT): Initiating Energy Transformation at the College of Social Sciences, NTU. The forum started with an opening speech contributed by Ching-Ray Chang, the Vice President of the NTU. He firstly acknowledged the RSPRC’s efforts in the policy of energy transformation and then pointed out that the two most important issues facing Taiwan in the next five to ten years are the issues of low fertility rate and energy transformation. Both issues need to be dealt with great attention otherwise the further development of Taiwan will be compromised. He stressed that energy transformation relies on the close cooperation between the academia of Science and Social Sciences. This is followed by the President of the College, Kuo-Hsien Su; he called our attention to the Paris Agreement and the immediate aftermath, the world’s seeking for low-carbon strategy. In this sense, so as to ensure the long-term development of Taiwan, the forward-looking policy of energy transformation is required. The experience of Germany can be a significant reference point for Taiwan. Furthermore, he argued energy transformation is not simply a problem of technology but a co-production among technology, social value and society’s perceptions. Until now, the education in Taiwan has a clear affinity with the culture of engineers. In the future, Taiwan’s education must pay more attention to the topic of value choices. Only in this way, Taiwan can move toward the true transformation.


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  The forum was divided into two sessions. The first session was about Taiwan's new vision of future development —how to initiate energy transformation—presented by Kuo-Hui Chang, the Executive Director of the RSPRC. He pointed out that, for latecomer countries, the general development trajectory of the state and society in the past can be portrayed as “embedded autonomy”, a tendency of the intimacy between state elites and social interests groups. However, this has changed today when the intimacy between elites and interests groups is replaced by the egalitarian collective consciousness in the citizens. This is the key consciousness that can trigger the true transformation. In the upcoming of climate change, air pollution and global warming, we not only care about living standards such as food and clothing but also hope to preserve a comfortable and green environment. The RSPRC believes that initiating energy transformation can preserve the green environment as well as change the incumbent structure of social, economic and political arrangements. Transformation is not solitary individualism but a collectivism of generations, the gift for the next generation. In contrast to the self-interest-driven improvements of environment, we should think about how to contribute to the general transformation and the reformation of the current high-carbon structure of Taiwan.


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  Drawing on the report of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and the research results of major international institutions, the RSPRC released a report named TWiT and called for firm confidence that, in Taiwan, even without nuclear power, it is possible to reach the target set by the Paris Agreement which requires the rising temperature does not exceed 2 ℃ more than the level before industrialization, and even Taiwan has the opportunity to achieve the further target of no more than 1.5 ℃. In order to achieve this ambitious target, the most important task is to stop the subsidies for high carbon industries and to impose carbon tax, at the same time, develop new technologies required for energy transformation and the reduction of carbon.


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  Although the WBGU report pointed out that generally, the incoming of energy transformation can lead to the overall economic growth, the RSPRC also recognised that the biggest obstacle to the energy transformation in Taiwan is the dependence on the past development trajectory and the lack of innovation and change. Compared to Germany, the utilisation of de-carbonization, wind energy and solar energy has yet to be strengthened; Taiwan's vision on transformation is indeed still far from its German counterpart. Kuo-Hui Chang argued that for Taiwan, the most important change is the change in the political system and the expansion of the opportunities for citizen participation, establishing a better dialogue platform for structure reformation. Finally, the Chief Director of the RSPRC, Kuei-Tien Chou, added that the RSPRC has formally obtained the copyright of the report, World in Transition Annual Report, published by the WBGU in 2011 and finished the work of translation, however, the translated version is yet reviewed by the author institution and therefore will not be available for public access for now. This document is to be available to the energy transformation engagers in the near future for the purpose of referencing and learning.


  The second session "achieving Taiwan’s new consensus on energy " was hosted by the Chief Director of the RSPRC, Kuei-Tien Chou, with joint discussion participated by Jing-Tang Yang, the Executive Director of the Office of Energy and Carbon Reduction, Executive Yuan, and Sabrina Schmidt-Koschella, Deputy Director General of German Institute Taipei. Director Yang started the discussion by talking about “Taiwan’s industrial innovation led by energy transformation,” pointing out that the government has set up the Office of Energy and Carbon Reduction to promote green energy development, which includes energy security, green economy, environmental sustainability and social equality. In terms of energy security, Director Yang suggested that it should start from supply, demand and system sides. For Taiwan's energy development Vision, the government is working towards Nuclear-Free Homeland, hoping to enhance energy autonomy and promote the emerging green energy industry. Director Yang also called for the key elements of the success of green industry— the determination of governmental policy, contributions from research circles and academia, and public support, industrial investment confidence. For the aggressive goal for the year 2025 announced by the government—renewable energy production accounts for 20% electricity generation, Director Yang suggested it is feasible; it requires not only participation from the technical and policy aspects, but also the social side. Director Yang believes that Taiwanese education system, in addition to training engineers, should also cultivate philosophers; our transformation vision is only viable through active participation by citizens.

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  Next, Sabrina Schmidt-Koschella, Deputy Director General of German Institute Taipei shared German experience in pushing for renewable energy and low-carbon society. Germany has taken a comprehensive approach to facilitating energy transformation, with multiple objectives such as maintaining energy security, stressing affordable energy and environment-compatible energy supply. In order to achieve the multiple transformation goals mentioned above, the German federal government tried to adopt a transformation path that is secure, environmentally friendly as well as maintains economic competitiveness. They set plans to reduce energy consumption, replace traditional technologies and resources, and improve energy efficiency. On the aspect of reducing carbon emissions, the development of renewable energy is indeed effective. German has effectively reduced greenhouse gas emissions, with remarkable carbon reduction effect, and renewable energy has become Germany's leading energy sources. While Germany's renewable energy projects are maturing, Germany still has a number of goals that need to be achieved, including how to bring down the cost of the use of renewable energy, how to increase the level of public consensus on renewable energy, and how to widen the range of renewable energy application. The German government hopes more private enterprises and local governments to participate in the development of renewable energy in the future.


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  Due to the German government’s continuous efforts, there is a high level of public consensus on the use of renewable energy. The key point is the public understanding that energy transformation is necessary and harmless; in order to foster such understanding, the dialogue and communication between government and civil society are very important. While pushing for the wide use of renewable energy, the interests of everyone should be all taken into account. For example, on the issue of grid construction, no people would want the grid facility to be built near their houses. This is why the Germany government in 2016 established the corresponding offices to ensure that people's views can be directly communicated to the government, and each citizen can get feedback. With such two-way dialogue mechanism, the public support for grid construction can possibly realise. Learning from the German experience, Taiwan can start the project from the development of governmental plans, and the technological and social innovation which benefits industry and creates new jobs.


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  In the end, the Chief Director of the RSPRC, Kuei-Tien Chou, summarised the forum by pointing out that so as to achieve energy transformation and social transformation, industrial development is not enough, it also requires industrial innovation and modernisation. The world has begun the social transformation to a low-carbon society, it would be too late if we, Taiwanese society, do not work toward the transformation now. The problem facing us is the lack of technology upgrading, relevant research and development; it is a situation our new government must face, and everyone has joint responsibility.


Center Statement

What's New

2017 Working Paper
Towards the Road to Energy Transformation
Sociology of Climate Change: A Review of High Carbon Society and Its Transformation Challenges

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