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ECCT visit to Tainan

On 29 April 2015 over 50 ECCT members travelled to Tainan to meet with and have lunch with Tainan City Mayor Lai Ching-de and senior government officials. It was the ECCT's third visit to Tainan since June 2013, as part of efforts aimed at expanding the ECCT's activities all across Taiwan following the chamber's transition to a nationwide association in 2013, but the first time an event in Tainan was open to all members. The delegation, headed by Chairman Bernd Barkey and CEO Freddie Hoeglund first held a closed-door meeting with the mayor and senior Tainan City government officials hosted by the ECCT' Low Carbon Initiative (LCI) and attended by several LCI members. After the LCI meeting, a lunch, open to all ECCT members, was held at which Mayor Lai gave a short speech. Both the LCI meeting and lunch were attended by 20 officials from Tainan City Government.
Low Carbon Initiative meeting
At the LCI meeting, ECCT delegates discussed ideas for cooperation in a number of areas such as green urban development, energy efficiency in industry and buildings and low carbon transport with their counterparts from the Tainan City Government. The first session of the meeting was open to the media. It began with opening remarks from Chairman Bernd Barkey and Mayor Lai, and an introduction to the LCI by ECCT Vice Chairman Giuseppe Izzo. The second session of the meeting, closed to the media, featured presentations by LCI Director Raoul Kubitschek and two senior officials from the Tainan City Government, followed by a Q&A session.In his opening remarks, ECCT Chairman Bernd Barkey noted that since the ECCT's first visit to Tainan in 2013, the ECCT had grown from 750 members to more than 820 members and that European investment in Taiwan had increased from US$31 billion to over US$33 billion. He said that this growth showed that Europeans are confident about Taiwan's economic prospects. Moreover, the large size of the delegation visiting Tainan clearly showed that ECCT members are interested in doing business in Tainan.In his opening remarks Mayor Lai praised European countries and companies as global leaders in sustainable and low carbon development. He therefore welcomed the opportunity to exchange information and ideas with the ECCT as his administration shares the objective of transforming Tainan into a low carbon city. In particular, he said that the input from LCI members would be highly valued and useful for the city in drawing up plans and putting in place the right solutions for the city.After the opening remarks, ECCT Vice Chairman Giuseppe Izzo gave a brief introduction to the LCI and LCI members who were present. ECCT Chairman Bernd Barkey then proceeded to introduce and present a copy of the LCI's recently-released report titled "The Path to Industrial Energy Efficiency in Taiwan - Partnering with the EU" to Mayor Lai. The mayor in turn presented a signed copy of his book titled "Foresee the Future" to Chairman Barkey and other ECCT delegates.After the media left, the second session of the meeting began with a presentation by LCI Director Raoul Kubitschek. The presentation gave a brief overview of the LCI and highlighted some of the solutions offered by LCI members and some best practices from Europe.

Europe is leading global efforts to combat climate change through efforts at the regional (EU), national and local government level. Municipal governments have an important role to play by putting in place the correct regulatory framework and incentives for behavioural changes for industry and households, drafting and implementing plans, monitoring the result and making changes if necessary. Throughout the process it is important to get the cooperation of all stakeholders from government, the private sector and communities.

While broad EU-level CO2 emissions and renewable energy targets have been set, some local governments have set even higher targets and have come up with innovative ways to achieve the targets. For example, the city of Dresden in Germany set up central facility management to increase the energy efficiency and management of buildings. In addition, the city improved planning to redevelop old areas of the city closer to the centre so as to provide more housing and reduce the need for commuting a larger number of people. In addition, European cities have seen large-scale roll-out of green transport such as electric buses and light rail systems.

In order to reach aggressive CO2 emissions targets, the city of Tübingen has reduced power consumption by introducing Combined Heat and Power (CHP) power generation systems, which recycle the heat lost in the conventional power generation process, making them far more energy efficient than traditional power generation facilities. In addition Tübingen has set a much higher 50% target for renewable energy than the EU-wide target.

Kubitschek noted that these initiatives had created 3,000 jobs as well as helped to make the cities more livable and attractive to talented people, which in turn generate economic growth and create a virtuous cycle of creating prosperity and a better life for the cities.

Kubitschek went on to introduce some examples of the best practices offered by LCI members in the areas of renewable (wind) energy, smart grids, ISO 50001 certification, light rail systems, electric buses, smart manufacturing, green buildings, energy-efficient tyres, construction, building insulation materials, appliances and pumps.

Lee Hsien-wei, Director-General of Tainan City's Environmental Protection Bureau gave a presentation on Tainan's low carbon city projects. Under Mayor Lai, Tainan has set four major targets: To become 1) Taiwan's capital of culture, 2) a tourist paradise, 3) a science and technology city and 4) a low carbon city.

According to Lee, Tainan has managed to reduce its CO2 emissions by about 2.8 million tonnes from 26.17 million tonnes in 2010 to 23.33 tonnes in 2013. This was done through various measures such as encouraging the production of some 80 kinds of carbon footprint products in Tainan and promoting green buildings. The city had 93 green buildings in 2014, up from 30 in 2010.  In addition, the city approved 1,856 solar power projects between 2011 and 2015 and is building a new hydro-electric power plant (named Zengwen), projected to be ready by 2018. The administration has also increased the size of green spaces by 156% and increased the number of new trees planted by 78%.

But there is clearly more work to be done. For example, Tainan's public transport network is still relatively limited while there are a high number of (mostly internal combustion) vehicles - 1.29 million vehicles for a population of 1.93 million.

In March 2014 the city announced the redevelopment of an area of the city known as Jiu Fenzi as a low carbon model community, the first such community in Taiwan. Every aspect of development will be considered including traffic, ecology, flood control and green buildings to realise the low carbon goals. The Jiu Fenzi area will make use of permeable paving for 70% of its area and green space will cover 60% of the area. There will be an 11.5-kilometre bikeway and
5,358 trees and 220,000 bushes will be planted. The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions by 70%, reduce domestic water usage by 30% and for renewable energy (mostly from solar panels on rooftops) to account for over 30% of energy needs. Given Tainan's current water shortage, the city plans to increase the use of recycled water.

In his presentation, Michael CY Chang, Director-General of Tainan City's Bureau of Transportation outlined the city's plans to set up a smart transportation centre by 2018 which would work on various aspects of the transport system to increase public transport and other ways to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. When Tainan City merged with Tainan County to become a special municipality in 2010, the administration set about integrating and streamlining the management and functioning of greater Tainan' various bus routes and services. It is now working with a telecom operator to improve traffic control and parking systems. For example, a Tainan city bus App' has been introduced to provide real time information on buses while electronic ticketing has been integrated and a bus priority signal system has been introduced. Looking ahead, the city plans to introduce a bicycle sharing system, smart parking and real-time traffic information systems, among other initiatives. In the Q&A session Chang said that the city is considering various low carbon public transport options including building a light rail system and increasing the use of electric buses or hybrid electric buses in Tainan.

Lunch with Mayor Lai
In his speech at the lunch, Mayor Lai said he respected and admired Europe's commitment to sustainable development and the setting of aggressive targets for carbon emission reductions and renewable energy. The mayor said he believes that Taiwan shares a responsibility to take action. For its part, Tainan is an excellent location for solar energy given its abundant sunshine (almost every day of the year). Moreover, with a number of companies engaged in solar panel production, a complete solar panel supply chain is available locally. This means that the conditions are favourable for a large increase in solar energy in the city and plans are in place for a large-scale roll-out. For example, in the planned Jiu Fenzi low carbon model community, the aim is to install solar panels on every house. Referring to the ECCT's position papers which call for regulatory changes to energy policies that would spur the large-scale installation of renewable energy, the mayor said that his administration agreed that Taiwan's energy market and policies are not conducive enough to promoting renewable energy. He said that he would urge central authorities to revise energy policies to promote industry involvement and investment in the development of renewable energy installations in Taiwan.

In the Q&A session Mayor Lai provided detailed answered to questions raised by ECCT members. On the subject of public transport, the mayor said that since the merger of Tainan city and county, the number of bus passengers had increased from seven million to 16 million trips annually. While this was a significant improvement, it still only accounted for a small portion of travel. This can be improved upon but given Tainan's large area with a relatively small population, which would not justify expensive projects such a metro system as extensive as Taipei's, there is a limit to what can be achieved with public transport alone. This means that other options need to be explored as well. For example, given that a large section of the population prefers using motor scooters, Mayor Lai is interested in promoting electric scooters, which would reduce CO2 emissions while retaining the convenience of scooter transport. Mayor Lai also wants to increase the percentage of electric buses in Tainan and was open to ideas of ways to phase in increases in the percentage of e-buses, such as setting targets for bus companies.On the subject of green buildings Mayor Lai said that all buildings in the Jiu Fenzi low carbon model community would have to meet requirements for green building materials, renewable energy (solar panels) and water saving.