Citizen's Initiatives and Energy Democratization in Taiwan

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Shu-Fen KAO, Fo Guang University, Taiwan
With the urgency of global carbon-reduction and the emphasis of sustainable energy, “energy transition” has been adopted by many countries in 1980s. Although the government in Taiwan has launched several nationwide conferences on energy issue with the attempt to reach social agreements on so-call “energy transition,” public participation, action guidelines and consensuses are insufficient due to the lacking of serious discussion of national vision and inter-generation justice. In the end, with the discontinuation of the fourth nuclear power plant and disputes from coal-powered plants, the energy transition has turned into nurturance of another centralized and grand-scale green-power industry in order to fill the gap of electricity. The civil obligation of frugality and public participation of local communities are thus neglected and remained a vague image. However, in the energy transition plans of major countries, the participation of local citizens and local governments are indispensable during the implementation period. In this paper, employing the perspective of “energy democratization“ and “co-evolutionary innovation for sustainability,” the author analyzes citizen’s initiatives and local strategies of renewable energy advocacies, action networks and their impacts on socio-technological innovation and community empowerment …etc. in Taiwan. To answer these research questions, major stakeholders, such as industrial sectors, local activists, NGO members, government decision makers and experts are interviewed and invited to participate in focus groups discussion. In addition, content analysis for documentary data related to green power generation and local energy advocacy are utilized. This paper aims to analyze the nature of socio-technological innovation driven by citizen’s initiatives and the challenges from social, legal and institutional dimensions that community actors might face. Based on the findings, the author hopes to seek policy remedy and to deliver suggestions to strengthen public participation in reaching energy democratization.