Lunch with Pingtung Magistrate Pan
The ECCT's board of directors held a lunch meeting with Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Men-an (潘孟安) at the offices of the Pingtung County Government. In his presentation at the lunch, Magistrate Pan gave an introduction to Pingtung and business opportunities in the area. The lunch was also attended by Lee Yi-der(李怡德), Director-General of the county’s Urban and Rural Development Department and Yin Fong-lan (鄞鳯蘭), Director of the Information and International Affairs Department.
After the lunch, the county government arranged a tour schedule over the next day and a half, which included a visit to several of Pingtung’s attractions and dinner and lunch with senior Pingtung County Government officials, including Deputy Mayor Wu Li-xue (吳麗雪). Read this Euroview article for more about the trip to Pingtung.
While Pingtung's population is just over 800,000, the county covers the entire southern tip of Taiwan, a relatively large area. According to Pan, industry accounts for around 40% of economic output, services (including tourism) around 44%, and agriculture around 15%. However, he expects industry, especially technology, to account for a larger share of the economy in future as the county works to expand its industry parks and attract new investors.
Pan cited a number of advantages that Pingtung has over other regions of Taiwan. In particular, there is no shortage of land, power or water in the county. For example, Pingtung did not suffer water shortages during the drought last year given the adequate water storage capacity of the county's reservoirs while the magistrate said that new projects in the works will increase the supply of clean water even further.
In terms of transport infrastructure, Pan said that an extension of the Taiwan high speed rail line to Pingtung has been approved, and, when completed by 2032, will cut travel time to Pingtung significantly.
Pingtung is a leader in solar energy in Taiwan. According to the magistrate, Pingtung has already installed 924 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity and will reach one gigawatt (GW) of capacity by the end of 2022. This is sufficient capacity to power 100% of households in Pingtung County, making Pingtung the first region in Taiwan to supply all household energy needs from renewable energy. The magistrate attributed the county's success in developing solar energy to the establishment of the Pingtung Office of Green Energy, which was set up to assist manufacturers and developers to invest in Pingtung's green energy projects and provide a platform to connect landowners and developers.
Given the fact that Pingtung's population is relatively small, the conditions are perfect and there is still ample room for further development of solar energy in the county, Pingtung could become a supplier of renewable energy to other parts of Taiwan in future, provided that there is sufficient grid capacity. Pingtung also is home to one of Taiwan's remaining nuclear power plants (although it is scheduled to be decommissioned by 2025 in line with the central government's pledge to phase out nuclear energy).
Pan went on to describe planned extensions to Pingtung's science and technology parks, which will be available to businesses engaged in food processing, space technology, developing green materials, biotechnology and smart agriculture, electronics and machinery, among others. Pingtung is also developing launching pads for satellites.
After the lunch, the county government arranged a tour schedule over the next day and a half, which included a visit to several of Pingtung's attractions and dinner and lunch with senior Pingtung County Government officials, including Deputy Mayor Wu Li-xue (吳麗雪).