Taiwan names green energy technology top priority

Taiwan's president named green energy technology the top development priority for the government.

Green energy technologies will be top priority on the Taiwan government's list of new industries to promote, the island's president said Wednesday.

Like other places, Taiwan is looking for new areas to invest in for the future, and clean environmental technologies have become a popular target. The U.S., Germany and Japan have all named green energy technologies as key investment areas and have been working to promote the use of energy saving devices including solar panels.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou highlighted solar and LED (light emitting diode) technologies as two areas where the island has potential to lead competitors.

"Green energy is the number one industry we want to promote," said Ma, at a conference in Taipei.

Clean energy-related industries in Taiwan produced US$4.7 billion worth of goods last year, Ma said, and the government hopes to grow that figure to US$14 billion by 2012.

Several companies in Taiwan have produced solar panels for years, including Motech Industries and E-Ton Solar. LED makers have also sprouted on the island, including Epistar and Everlight Electronics.

Groups from Taiwan have met with Chinese officials to discuss using LED in public areas, including street lights and elsewhere, to take advantage of the energy-saving aspect of the technology.

Taiwan's president listed several other target industries for the island. Among them were tourism, agriculture, healthcare and biotechnology. The government will seek ways to support the development of such industries by promoting their use in Taiwanese projects as well as through research grants and other measures.

The promotional plan is part of Taiwan's efforts to spur its economy to grow.

The global recession has been tough on the island. Taiwan's economy shrank 8.36 percent in the fourth quarter, among its worst performances ever, as exports plunged and investment dried up. The government has worked on an NT$500 billion (US$14.6 billion) economic stimulus plan to help growth rebound.

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