LCI Sustainable City Forum
The 2017 Sustainable City Forum was one of the highlights of the 2017 Smart City Summit & Expo, the largest event covering smart cities and the IoT industry in Asia, featuring senior executives, officials and experts from global cities and enterprises to discuss and showcase strategies and solutions for the sustainability of cities.
The one day forum was designed to present an all-inclusive look at smart cities. It featured a policy discussion in the morning on the subject of low carbon sustainable development following the Paris Agreement and four parallel sessions in the afternoon on the topics of Green Mobility, Smart Energy, Low Carbon Community and the Circular Economy.
The forum was organised by the ECCT's Low Carbon Initiative (LCI) in conjunction with the Taipei Computer Association (TCA), the Taiwan Smart City Association (TSCA), the International Climate Development Institute (ICDI), the Taiwan Office of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Tatung Company, Ecoland Corporation and ITS Taiwan.
On the same day as the forum, the LCI arranged two exclusive meetings with government ministers, one with the Dr Lee Chih-kung, Minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) and another with Dr Lee Ying-yuan, Minister of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).
Meeting with MoEA Minister Lee Chih-kung
A delegation of LCI members held a closed-door meeting with Minister Lee before the start of the forum. In his introductory remarks at the meeting ECCT CEO Freddie Höglund informed the minister that the LCI had recently added sub-categories to its three main platforms of advocacy, best practices and CSR and Education to specify the six industry areas covered by the LCI, namely: Smart Cities, Green Mobility, Green Energy, The Circular Economy, Smart Manufacturing and Green Financing. He went on to inform Minister Lee about the recent launch of the ECCT's Wind Energy committee, which was established to cater to the considerable interest among ECCT members in wind energy given the business opportunities opening up in the wake of the Taiwan government's commitment to increasing the proportion of Taiwan's renewable energy to 20% of electricity capacity by 2025. He added that European companies are global leaders in the technology and development of wind energy projects. The committee will focus on advocating the required regulatory environment in Taiwan to expedite the development of both onshore and offshore wind energy. For example, while the committee has welcomed the government's commitment to reform of the electricity market, there are still significant regulatory barriers that are slowing down the roll-out of renewable energy projects in Taiwan.
Minster Lee replied that the government has demonstrated its commitment to energy efficiency, carbon reduction and increasing renewables by setting ambitious targets and spear-heading the passage of amendments to the Electricity Act, which would enable the direct sale of renewable energy to users. He added that the government would allocate significant resources to renewable energy in partnership with local governments and the private sector. On the subject of green financing, the minister acknowledged that this is an area where Taiwan is somewhat lacking and that Taiwan could learn a lot from the experience and success of European countries in the way that banks have helped to finance green energy projects to the mutual benefit of financial institutions and renewable energy developers. On the subject of local content requirements, the minister acknowledged that the government had to be realistic in setting local content requirements given that the capacity of local industry players was still limited in terms of the skills and technology required for a large-scale roll-out of renewable energy capacity. For this reason, he said that foreign players still have a major role to play in helping Taiwan to meet its renewable energy targets.
At the start of the forum, welcome remarks were made by Chang Jing-sen, Minister without Portfolio. In his remarks, Minister Chang made the point that since 80% of carbon emissions are generated by cities, city leaders have a leading role to play in the drive to lower carbon emissions. Regarding the central government's role, he acknowledged that the government's targets for renewable energy are challenging but that recently-enacted amendments to the Electricity Act would help to speed up the development of renewable energy.
Topic: Practice and development of the green economy in smart cities
Speaker: Dr Lee Chih-kung, Minster, Ministry of Economic Affairs
In his speech Dr Lee remarked that he wrote the first policies on smart cities more than 10 years ago. Since then the strategy and practices have been modified to take into account global developments and learn from the work of many case studies. The minister acknowledged that Taiwan has a history of disproportionate growth in emissions compared to GDP and has just started to reduce carbon intensity in recent years. He said that it is possible for Taiwan to reach its targets for cutting emissions and increasing the proportion of renewable energy in the grid but this requires strong action and overcoming opposition. In addition, the concept of the circular economy entails re-examining manufacturing. This implies not just reducing but also reusing materials such as concrete and steel and increasing the implementation of so-called "shared economy" concepts to reduce the use of resources. It also requires a holistic evaluation of the entire value chain. This is why, for example, it is no longer feasible to argue that nuclear energy is low carbon because, while the production of nuclear energy may not produce emissions, the costs and energy needed to deal safely with nuclear waste have to be considered.
The minister went on cite successful case studies such as Gogoro scooters, which have been successful in Taiwan and Europe, bicycle and electric bike sharing schemes and P2P energy trading platforms in Germany, which allow people to buy and sell electricity from their neighbours, solar road and solar cities and intelligent transport systems.
Topic: Climate adaptation and energy transition in future smart cities
Speaker: Emani Kumar, Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI South Asia
The speaker introduced ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), the world's leading network of over 1,500 cities, towns and metropolises in 100 countries that are committed to building a sustainable future. ICLEI's members from Taiwan include Kaohsiung, which joined ICLEI in 2006 and established the ICLEI Kaohsiung Capacity Center in 2012 to promote sustainable development in the city and cooperation with other ICLEI member cities. ICLEI's headquarters are in Bonn Germany.
The world's population continues to increase and urbanise. This has led to a huge increase in demand for food and clear water and housing in countries like India, as well as the need to reduce waste. According to Kumar, by 2050 the amount of plastic in the world's oceans will exceed that of fish. The drop in fish stocks as a result of pollution and over-fishing will have huge impact on people's livelihoods in many coastal regions.
Many cities are seeking to increase the use of renewables to meet 100% of electricity needs. ICLEI is helping to achieve these goals by introducing and sharing many ideas and tools to showcase solutions for making cities sustainable as well as facilitating access to finance.
Subject: Post Paris Agreement: Low carbon and sustainable development through smart cities
Moderator: Dr Lin Chien-yuan, Chairman, TSCA
The panel discussion featured 10-minute presentations by each of the panellists, followed by an interactive Q&A session.
In his presentation Professor Fortunato T Dela Peña, Secretary of The Philippines Department of Science and Technology said that The Philippines has been disproportionately affected by climate change, especially in the form of an increase in severe typhoons in recent years. The government's focus has been on both adaptive and mitigative efforts. The government supports the Paris Agreement and has submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UNFCC specifying a commitment to cut emissions by 70% by 2030 relative to its Business As Usual scenario of 2000-2030. The country is investing in measures to mitigate against landslides and flooding and early warning systems. It is also promoting green buildings. A green building code has been introduced, which takes into account indigenous materials and local conditions
In his presentation Vladimír Sochor, Director of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic introduced the economic and trade situation of the Czech Republic, noting that it has a trade surplus. He introduced several smart city initiatives in the Czech Republic, reporting that the government set up a working group in 2016 to coordinate actions among central and local governments, academia and industry. Activities include exhibitions, conferences and workshops across the country. Examples of smart city projects include smart street lamps in Prague which monitor air quality, smart rubbish bins and smart benches.
Alan Lin (Tze-luen), President of the International Climate Development Institute, talked about what he referred to as the "governance dilemma" in rethinking smart cities. With so many competing demands by stakeholders, more public participation and cooperation is needed to solve common problems such as achieving an ecological balance, dealing with waste and ensuring a sufficient supply of resources.
Christophe Ferrari, President of Grenoble-Alpes Metropolis talked about the smart city of Grenoble. He noted that many problems require not just a technological solution but also a political solution. For example, water distribution and the quality and type of housing to choose are not just questions of technology. They also require political decisions. For example, who should pay for things like waste water treatment plants? Using innovate solutions such as turning waste into biogas, for use in homes and public buses is a way to reduce costs, pollution and produce benefits for residents. The public also has to be made aware that buying products produces waste. The city is working on cutting the use of plastic and promoting the use of public transport by reducing the costs and introducing free apps. Public housing is also very important. Most buildings are old and built before the use of energy was considered. The solution is to upgrade all buildings to make them energy-efficient. This is mutually beneficial for the construction industry (as a business opportunity) and for users (to save on energy bills). The city is also employing other circular economy concepts such as using heat produced by a chemical plant to heat buildings.
Erdal Elver, Member of the ECCT LCI Steering Committee, gave an introduction to the LCI, including its members, platforms, activities over the past year and its reports. In his overview of Taiwan's current energy situation, he made the point that Taiwan has a long way to go given the overwhelming dependence on fossil fuels. Close to 50% of Taiwan's energy supply comes from petroleum products, almost 30% from coal, 13% from natural gas, 7% from nuclear and less than 2% from renewables.
He added that Taiwan's CO2 emissions per capita have continued to rise over the past 25 years, unlike many other advanced economies, where emissions per capita have fallen. This shows that there is room for improvement in terms of energy saving and increasing the use of renewable energy. Given the decision to phase out nuclear energy and to cut emissions and reduce pollution, a huge increase in renewables is needed. He added that, given the fact that natural gas produces lower emissions than coal, it is a much better interim solution than coal. In taking action, we have to consider the whole value chain and work with all stakeholders. The government needs the right policies while industry has to provide the technologies and solutions.
Taiwan will be affected by climate change. The megatrends of urbanization, climate change, globalization and demographic change will shape the future of cities. Already half of the world's population lives in cities and this proportion will rise to 70% by 2050. Cities now consume about 75% of the entire world's energy and emit around 80% of all greenhouse gases. The fight against climate change will therefore be won or lost in cities. It is crucial therefore that we make our cities more efficient, cleaner and better to live in - not only for ourselves, but for future generations and the earth's diverse ecosystems.
There are many examples of low carbon solutions ready to be implemented today: A lot of the current commercial and residential building stock in Taipei is outdated and consume a lot of energy. The aim when constructing new buildings and renovating existing buildings should be to make them carbon neutral or at least low carbon by using state-of-the-art technologies. With the right technologies installed, buildings can be run very efficiently and save energy. These include solar panels and water heating systems, automated building management systems and rainwater harvesting and treatment systems.
Another area ready for an upgrade is Taipei's public buses. Switching from petrol to electric buses would cut carbon emissions, pollution and noise in the city. Another area that can be improved is traffic flow. For example, smart systems are available to use data on traffic conditions to adjust traffic lights to make traffic flow more efficiently.
He concluded his presentation by saying that European countries and companies are global leaders in developing and implementing sustainable, low carbon solutions for a wide range of industries and that LCI members are ready to work with the government and local industry to create low carbon cities all across Taiwan.
Roman Mendle, Smart City Programmes Manager for ICLEI's World Secretariat outlined ICLEI's approach towards smart cities, highlighting that smartness is the means and sustainability is the goal and that a city that is not sustainable is not smart. While high tech solutions such as automatic watering systems and employing sensors for smart rubbish bins that indicate when rubbish bins are full are useful, they are not enough.
The city of Eindhoven is using a monitoring system to cross check data on social media and footage from CCTV cameras to monitor activity certain areas for safety reasons. The city of Boston is just one of many cities that has a data monitoring dashboard that is monitoring several aspects of the overall health of the city. 30% of the people of Tel Aviv use a platform to access information on transport and events and can give feedback.
Mendle made the point that while autonomous vehicles promise additional safety, comfort and convenience, they still take up just as much space on the roads as traditional cars, reminding us that they will not solve traffic problems on their own.
He also made the point that while modern technology does save time and improve convenience, there is still a cost to the environment in terms of energy use. For example, he said that the energy needed to do a simple Google search is equivalent to 0.2 grams of CO2 emissions (although Google is in the process of upgrading its operations with the aim of meeting 100% of its energy needs from renewable energy). At the moment, according to Mendle, big data uses 3% of all global energy, a percentage equivalent to the aviation industry. This is something people need to think about this when considering ICT solutions. In the same way, a lot of IT solutions, while elegant, end up producing a lot of waste. For example, a smart rubbish bin that automatically compresses rubbish, while useful, will end up producing a lot of electronic waste at the end of its life. For this reason, we need to factor in how to deal with electronic waste when making decisions on whether or not to employ new technologies.
We also have to consider the social aspect. For example, automating the functions of community gardens, while making operations more efficient, takes away the social benefits of people working together in community gardens. Solutions also have to consider the needs of the aged given rapidly-aging societies in the developed world.
Finally, the issue of security is often overlooked. There have been several instances of devices connected to the internet being hacked. "IoTisation" will make the city hackable. Beautiful solutions also need to be secure and this requires sufficient security capacity.
He concluded that city planners need to look at the big picture while developers need to think not just about creating cool stuff but creating solutions to the most important problems. Together they need to find solutions that are holistic and transformative.
Sung-Ah Kyun, Policy Manager for Energy Efficiency and Climate Change (E2C2) at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) introduced the EBRD and her team. She noted that access to finance is extremely important to make cities sustainable and about 40% of the bank's resources are actively targeting the financing of green projects, including urban sustainability. The bank works with both the public and private sectors.
Meeting with EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan
Before the start of the four parallel afternoon sessions, an LCI delegation held a closed-door meeting with Dr Lee Ying-yuan, Minister of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA). In his introductory remarks at the meeting ECCT CEO Freddie Höglund gave a brief introduction to the ECCT and the LCI. He went on to note that ECCT members welcomed the government's environmental targets and the amendments to the Electricity Act and that ECCT members are eager to work with the government to achieve their ambitious targets. He added that Europeans have extensive expertise and experience that would be useful in this regard.
In his remarks Minister Lee said that the EPA is committed to working towards a circular economy and to encourage the development of businesses offering low carbon solutions. In this regard, he said that the government welcomes the opportunity to work with and learn from European experience and therefore welcomed future opportunities for cooperation with the LCI.
Smart Energy forum session
The session featured opening remarks by Lin Wen-yen, President of Tatung Company and Kung Min-hsin, Deputy Minister of the National Development Council. Afterwards, presentations were made by three speakers, which was followed by a panel discussion.
Raoul Kubitschek, PV Director at wpd gave a presentation on the topic "Global energy and energy policy trends". While wpd is primarily focused on wind energy, it is also developing solar energy projects in Taiwan. Since most projects in Taiwan are on rooftops, this often requires replacing roofs, although wpd also has a pipeline for ground projects. Currently, the market is mainly in southern Taiwan. Unlike traditional power plants, renewables are, by necessity, decentralised. For this reason, the grid network has to grow and adapt to renewables and smart grids are needed to manage flow. The advantage of renewables is that the value chains are localised and closer to end users. It makes sense to follow the trend in Europe to use power locally. Germany has shown the way by making it worthwhile for renewable energy providers to use their own power. Besides increasing the use of renewables, energy efficiency should be a dual objective. Taiwan has set good goals but is not yet following through. Besides the commitment by the government, industry and households also need to be involved.
For Taiwan to succeed, PV producers need to focus on the local market, not just the export market. The grid also needs more decentralisation. To spur market uptake, there is a need for easy-to-install and use products. In order to allow small businesses and households to choose the best options to meet their needs, access to data on electricity usage is needed, after which smart systems are needed to decide when to use energy, when to feed in to the grid and when to store power on site. Kubitschek noted that his company has experience in installing rooftop systems that can withstand typhoons.
Bart Linssen, Managing Director at Enercon gave a presentation on the topic "Successful wind energy case studies". Linssen highlighted the benefits of wind energy compared to traditional fossil fuel plants, focusing on the health implications (no pollution) and ever-falling costs. January 2017 saw the passage of amendments to the Electricity Act, which will have implications for renewables. If it is implemented as stated, end users will be able to choose which energy source they prefer. Linssen pointed out that wind turbines take up much less space than solar panels and take less time to install. According to Linssen 16,000 solar panels are needed to produce the same amount of electricity as one modern turbine and a crew in Taiwan can install a turbine in five days. Contrary to popular misconceptions, turbines are also quiet. From a distance of 100 metres, they only produce 50 decibels (db) of noise, which is equivalent to the sound of an air conditioner. From 400 metres the sound drops to 40db, equivalent to that of a refrigerator. Wind turbines are also safe. He reported that his company has been operating wind turbines in Taiwan for 15 years, and, despite experiencing many serious typhoons and earthquakes over that time, no turbines have been damaged. Onshore wind is now also the cheapest renewable option, costing less than NT$3 per kw/hour in Taiwan. If prices continue to fall, wind energy will soon be cheaper than coal in Taiwan. An added benefit of wind energy is that it supports local jobs to install and maintain turbines. He added that his company's operation in Taiwan is so good that it has been designated at the regional centre, covering Korea and Japan as well as new markets in Thailand, thereby creating even more new jobs in Taiwan.
The session also featured a presentation on the topic "How to integrate science and technology with smart energy" with speaker John Ng, IoT Business Product Director for Cisco Systems. He introduced smart utility grid solutions.
After the presentations there was a panel discussion on energy transformation moderated by Lin Faa-jeng, Honorary President, Taiwan Smart Grid Industry Association and Professor, National Central University. Professor Lin noted that the government introduced smart grid master plan in 2011 with the aim of improving the efficiency of power plants and the grid and that there are currently 20 smart grid demo sites in Taiwan.
Commenting on the cost of renewable energy, he said that one should look not only at nominal costs but also broader costs, especially in terms of healthcare given studies showing that cancer rates and related healthcare costs are higher in areas that depend on fossil fuel energy, especially coal-fired power plants.
Raoul Kubitschek pointed out that it is a misconception that Taiwan does not have enough land for solar energy. He said that there are enough rooftops in Taiwan and there is a lot of land not suitable for agriculture that could be used. One of the major challenges is that there are too many small parcels of privately-owned land. For projects of scale, these need to be consolidated. Another problem in Taiwan is that many rooftops that would be ideal for solar panels are on top of buildings without legal permits. While there are ongoing discussions internally in the government, there is not yet consensus between government agencies on how to overcome these issues.
Green mobility forum session
The session featured opening remarks by Chi Wen-jong Chi, Administrative Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MoTC). Afterwards speakers shared green mobility case studies. Speakers included LCI members Danny Yang, General Manager of Bosch Automotive Original Equipment in Taiwan and John Lin, Vice President of Ford Lio Ho Motor Company. Other speakers were YC Chang, Managing Director of FETC and Jeffery Wu, Co-Founder of WeMo. After the presentations there was a panel discussion covering the questions: "What are the roles of smart or IoT technology in terms of green mobility?"; "In the development of green mobility in cities, how should we respond to innovative services?" and "How can green mobility generate revenue in smart cities?" The panel was moderated by Dr SK Chang (Jason), Executive VP of ITS Taiwan and featured two LCI members: Giuseppe Izzo, Managing Director of Taiwan and Vice President of the Asia Pacific Region for STMicroelectronics and Jennifer Wang, Vice General Manager of TÜV Rheinland Taiwan. Other panellists were Dr Elly Sinaga, Secretary General of ITS Indonesia; Dr Jessica Lin, President of THI Consultants and Professor Václav Jirovsky, Head of the Department of Security Technologies and Engineering, Faculty of Transportation Sciences at Czech Technical University in Prague.
Low carbon community forum session
The session featured opening remarks by Cheng Cheng-mount, Vice Chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission and HL Lin, Senior Vice President of Tatung and presentations by LCI member John Pien, General Manager of Grundfos Taiwan; Kaine Thompson, Chief of Staff of the Wellington City Council in New Zealand and Noriko Takata, Manager of NEC Co. After presentations the speakers participated in a panel discussion on the subject "How to promote urban low-carbon community - Polices and Incentive".
Circular economy forum session
The session featured opening remarks by Dr Lee Ying-yuan, Minister of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA). Afterwards the following speakers from the LCI shared circular economy case studies: Alec Yang, Head of BU PUR at Covestro Taiwan and Dr Dominic Stoerkle, Business Director at Evonik. Other speakers were Yu Teng-yaw, CEO of the CTCI Foundation; George Huang, Managing Director of TECO Electric & Machinery and Chen Kuen-hung, President of Sinogreenergy. The speakers also took part in the panel discussion, where they were joined by LCI member Jay Mao, Chairman of Michelin Taiwan.