Green tech continues to be an increasingly popular industry. It is not only beneficial for the environment, it can also help companies reduce their operation and material cost, open new revenue streams, or even reduces tax. Addressing this trend, Taipei Computer Association (TCA) hosted a Saloon event on Green Energy titled "Green Energy for a Green Economy". The event was held in collaboration with KPMG and Taipei Exchange. Joining as both speakers and panelists are: Mr. Mickey Lin, Associate Director of KPMG in Taiwan 安侯建業's Government and Infrastructure Advisory; Ms. Kaling Ting, COO of NuPolar Lights; Ms. Clare Chen, General Manager of Taipei Exchange's Startup Incubation Department; and Mr. Wayne Huang, co-founder & CEO of CircuPlus.
Protecting the Environment without Reducing Energy Generation
Beginning the keynote session is Mr. Mickey Lin, who shared how the growing need for environmental protection and sustainable business has affected business practices. Sustainability is also a major concern of large corporations such as Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, IKEA, Microsoft, Phillips, and HP; all of whom are members of RE100; which means they are committed to using 100% renewable energy. As green energy grows as a trend in leading companies, it will also gain traction in the startup ecosystem.
Green energy covers four major areas: energy generation, energy saving, energy storage, and system integration. While the industries that are directly related are solar cells, wind turbines, LED lighting, energy transmission, hydrogen energy delivery systems, and battery cells. In terms of energy storage; Taiwan leads in solar cells and LED lighting.
It is difficult for green energy companies to raise funds due to the industry's complexity. As a result, many governments issue grants and introduce policies to assist investments in green energy related fields. In addition, some institutions also issue green bonds which will be used to support environmentally friendly projects such as renewable energy, low-carbon transportation or forestry projects. Through the issuance of these green bonds, investors who are interested in green energy can easily invest in the related projects and also significantly reduces the time needed for fundraising. By the end of November 2018, Taiwan has issued 23 green bonds with the total value of nearly NTD 54 Billion (approximately USD 1.8 Billion).
LED Application to Improve Efficiency in Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Healthcare
In her keynote speech, the COO of NuPolar Lights, Ms. Kaling Ting stated that conventional applications of LED is only in lighting. However, her company's patented bio-solar LED technology can be used to increase yield in agriculture and aquaculture. With some modifications, the LED technology can also be used for medical purposes such as phototherapy. In agriculture, it can also be tailored to specific plants. For example, for the Taiwan Jewel Orchid (台灣金線蓮; Anoectochilus formosanus); it can be used to halve its growth time and increase the concentration of gastrodin it contains. This will be very beneficial for the herbal medicine industry as it both improves the operational efficiency and ensures product quality.
Startup Incubation to Help Remove Barriers to Capital Market and Accelerate Expansion
Ms. Clare Chen, General Manager of Taipei Exchange's Startup Incubation Department pointed out that many startups are microenterprises or SMEs. This means any efforts of expansion will put more pressure on the CEO of the startup. To help facilitate them, Taipei Exchange has launched their Startup Incubation Department to help and guide startups enter the capital market.
The department was launched in 2014 as startups' entry point to the capital market. Its jobs include providing fund raising channels, consulting, free public offering, low interest financing, increase exposure, etc. They have even successfully assisted many companies' products enter the chain convenience stores, receive direct investment or become subsidiaries of large companies.
Using ICT to Promote Circular Economy
"Global resources are limited," stated Mr. Wayne Huang, co-founder & CEO of CircuPlus. He believes that the future economy must break away from the traditional linear economy model of make, use, dispose; and instead adopt the circular economy model to enable sustainable businesses and consumers. The example he gave was of sharing economies, particularly Uber; a business which offers transportation services and essentially removes the necessity of the general public owning cars through ICT technologies. As green energy is a part of the circular economy model and a great majority of startups are in the ICT industry; they can leverage their expertise to be more profitable in the zero-waste future.