Bridge the Gap between the Central and Local Governments: By Strengthening Local Energy Governance



Current Challenges

In the past, local governments were not empowered with the responsibilities and powers to oversee local energy development, and energy governance was therefore seen as additional responsibilities. Due to the lack of practical experience in the field, local governments are therefore confronted with the following challenges:


1. The Unclear Responsibilities and Powers of the Local Government

  • Energy planning has traditionally been dominated by the central government, while local governments lack institutional support in energy implementation.


2. The Importance Placed on Energy Policies is Dependent on the Energy Perception of Local Leaders

  • The level of understanding of local leaders on energy issues have an impact on the execution ability of local governance teams.


3. The Lack of Governing Resources

  • Local governments have in the past lacked experience in energy management. Currently, there are three energy management specialty units in Taiwan's cities/counties, and four cities/counties have set up administrative project offices for the promotion of green energy or energy conservation. On the whole, the current governance model has impacted on talent development in local energy governance, as well as resulted in a lack of funds for energy governance.


4. The Lack of a Favorable Environment for Data Application

  • Local governments lack experience in conducting energy use and energy conservation potential assessments, and there is also a lack of complete information and data provided by the Taiwan Power Company at the local level, which thereby prevents local governments from developing more detailed and innovative policy designs.



Proposed Action Plans

Energy transition needs to be jointly pushed by the central and local governments. Local governments often play the role of communicating policies enacted by the central government to local populations, and therefore have to simultaneously adopt policies as set within a framework by the central government, as well as respond to the needs of local communities and populations. Due to the nature of governance, local governments are therefore nimbler, and would thus be able to develop more detailed and innovative policies. In addition, while policy actions are spearheaded by local governments, they are require the participation of multiple stakeholders, and as such local energy governance needs to be enhanced, both in terms of strengthening local governing abilities and building the capacity of stakeholders.


1. Empower Local Governments

  • In future, the energy governance and team capabilities of local governments should be enhanced based on their different levels of expertise, the relevant laws and regulations in relation to local energy governance should also be improved in phases, and the financial autonomy of local governments should also be strengthened.


2. Stimulate Innovation Strategies

  • By developing innovative governance strategies, it would be possible to avoid path dependence in governance, as well as enable laggard local governments to learn and catch up with forward-moving local governments. Innovative strategies and policies would include research on the various financing methods and sources, the establishment of basic data and the enhancement of its use, local energy governance models that involve multiple stakeholders, as well as increasing venture capital opportunities for local energy industries.


3. Establish Long-Term Planning Capabilities

  • It is necessary to develop a long-term vision for energy and social transformation, and then formulate policies based on such a vision. At present, policies and targets at the city and county level exist in silo, which as a result leads to gaps such as in how air pollution governance and energy planning targets therefore do not align. As such, local governments need to set climate change and carbon reduction targets according to the different phases of the climate plan at the national level, as well as ensure alignment between competing policies and targets, which should also include actions such as conducting a regional resource inventory as well as regional energy governance and relevant future planning.


4. Reshape Local Energy Awareness

  • Any form of transformation would entail changes to social consciousness, people's behaviors, and risk perceptions and attitudes. In addition, when climate issues become infused with political ideology, it can interfere with the established policy goals or plans. In addition, energy policies at the city and county level need to be combined with local characteristics, as well as foster local innovation and local energy transition and governance, and to also reconstruct local awareness and systems in order to stimulate the grassroots awareness among the general public, so as to develop successful case studies which can serve as examples to other cities and counties.