A belated Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I've been busy at work on a long two-part post, but in the meantime, here is a Taiwan Sustainable Cities holiday news roundup.
The Taiwanese government has had a busy November. On the heels of a decision to reduce solar energy prices, the government announced a NT $8 billion (US $260 million) investment to establish Penghu as a renewable energy testing ground. By harnessing the island's abundant wind resources, Penghu will receive over 50% of its energy supply from renewable sources and swap half of its motorbikes for electric scooters by 2015. This past week, Taiwan Vice President Vincent Siew identified increasing Taiwan's natural gas consumption to 16 million tons per year by 2025 as another means to cut emissions. The 45% projected increase in LNG from this year's estimated 11 million tons will reduce Taiwan's dependence on oil for power generation.
Wind Turbines on Penghu Island
While protests continue over protecting Taiwan's existing green space, Taipei County announced the opening of a 17 hectare park on the former site of an industrial waste dump. The opening of the riverside park is a component of a land reclamation project along the Tahan River.
In early November, Stefan Dorin's award winning design for Taichung City's Taiwan Tower architecture competition garnered international attention due to its futuristic concepts. Not to be outdone, the Port of Kaohsiung has its own ambitious green building project. Sun and Associates unveiled a wave-shaped cruise ship terminal proposal for Kaohsiung's port. Complete with a sophisticated solar roof, the development will be multi-use and include an adjacent park.
Taipei City inaugurated its Luzhou MRT line earlier this month. The new line is projected to push the Taipei MRT's annual ridership over 500 million passenger boardings a year, fulfilling the requirement to become a member of the exclusive Community of Metros (CoMET). Taipei commuters increasing MRT ridership has led to a decrease in the need for taxi services. In response, The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) is encouraging taxi customers to carpool by offering cheaper rates as a means to improve the smaller fleet's efficiency. In order to alleviate inter-city traffic congestion, discussions regarding an upgrade to Northeastern Taiwan's rail system are ongoing. Improved rail links between Yilan and Taipei would reduce pressure on crowded Northeastern highway tunnels, which the MOTC fears are nearing their capacity.
In the private transportation sector, Ford Lio Ho (a subsidiary of Ford Motor Co. accounting for over 10% of Taiwan's auto market) announced the sale of its 2 millionth car. The company has been promoting the Ford EcoBoost engine that has recently been introduced to the Taiwanese market. The EcoBoost engine raises fuel economy by 20% and cuts CO2 emissions by 15%. Ford Lio Ho has stated that 80% of its cars will utilize the EcoBoost by 2013. In addition to targeting Taiwan's domestic auto market, international automakers may increasingly utilize Taiwan as crucial middle-man to enter China. BusinessWire reports on the opportunities for international firms to partner with Taiwan to take advantage of China's burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) market. As a result of increased cross-strait trade fostered by the June 2010 Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (EFCA), Taiwan offers unparalleled proximity and access to China's EV market while providing first-rate intellectual property protection and manufacturing expertise.
On Thanksgiving Day, the Taiwan government announced that a four-year plan directed at urban renewal will begin in January 2011. Targeting houses over 20 years old, the plan will encourage the renovation and reconstruction of over 4.5 million homes . The government will spend over NT $18 billion (US $592 million) to reconstruct 20,000 homes over 30 years in age and provide tax incentives for renovating houses 20-29 years in age. The plan calls for houses to achieve higher standards of earthquake safety and increase disabled-access, water conservation, energy efficiency, and low-carbon building techniques.
Have a safe and restful Thanksgiving holiday and check back soon for a new post.