As the government of Taiwan raises the share of renewables in the island’s energy mix, the momentum of development has also picked up in the related application segments such as energy storage, power dispatch, and smart grid. Consequently, there is a surge in the demand for labor and expertise in Taiwan’s energy and power sectors. To address this challenge, Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has created a scholarship program for cultivating specialists in green energy and grid management. The scholarship award ceremony for this year was held on July 29 and honored 17 recipients.
Taiwan’s aggressive pursuit of energy transition has resulted in a wave of urgent demand for professionals across all sections of the electricity supply chain, from generation to transmission to distribution. ITRI has long recognized this talent shortage. In 2019, it gathered 26 entities from industries, academia, and research endeavors to form an association that offers educational resources and scholarships. Since then, the association has launched a digital platform that hosts training courses on renewable energies and the operation of the electric power system. It also gave grants to accomplished students majoring in the related subjects. Many promising industry talents have been discovered, and they are expected to inject more vitality into Taiwan’s energy and power sectors.
The ITRI-led association, the Chinese name of which is translated as “Power School Online and the Alliance for the Development of Industry Talents”, include the following entities as its members: Tatung Co., Taiwan Cogeneration Corp., Taiwan Research Institute, Allis Electric Co. Ltd., Ho-Ping Power Co., TECO Electric and Machinery Co. Ltd., Hai Long Offshore Wind, Controlnet International Inc., AceBel Polytech Inc., Hsiang Cheng Electric Corp., wpd AG, Formosa III Wind Power (which is being jointly developed by JERA Energy Taiwan Co. Ltd., EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group), and Taiwan Power and Engineering Association.
The scholarship fund that ITRI maintains through this association was created in 2019 and has now amassed around NT$1.7 million. The first year of the scholarship program saw more than NT$1 million awarded to a total of 42 recipients. This year, 17 recipients were announced.
At the award ceremony, Edwin Liu, president of ITRI, said that the lack of talents in the energy and power sectors will have profound effects on Taiwan’s long-term economic development and the government’s plan to overhaul the energy market. Hence, professional training and recruitment takes on increasing urgency. Regarding talent cultivation, Liu added that scholarships can encourage students and professors in universities to engage in sustained study or research in the related fields. The scholarship that was established by the ITRI-led association is awarded twice a year and intended to be a medium- to long-term program. The other part of the talent cultivation strategy is expanding educational opportunities. Those who are new to the job market or those who are thinking about a career change can take the training courses offered by Power School Online. At the same time, the ITRI-led association has created internships and temporary positions that can connect job seekers with hiring employers in the green energy and electric power markets.
This year, the president of ITRI has set up another scholarship in his father’s name to help expand the pool talents in the energy and power sectors. The Liu Shu-sheng Memorial Scholarship, which provides NT$80,000 to the recipient, is open to students under 35 years of age and studying in the related fields. Liu Shu-sheng, who recently passed away, played a key role in the modernization of Taiwan’s grid system. The president of ITRI told the local media that he hopes this award will support outstanding industry talents that will carry on his father’s legacy.
Zhou Yi-jun, who heads ITRI College and serves as the principal of Power School Online, said that the training courses target students attending colleges and universities. ITRI is also collaborating with schools around the island to help students learn more about the electric power system and its future development trends. Power School Online is a digital learning platform with courses designed to provide theoretical and practical foundations, but it also hosts popular science forums that contain entry-level learning resources for the general public.
For developing more professionals in different energy sectors, Power School Online has created courses for certifying engineers and technicians in fields such as electrical power system, smart grid planning, offshore wind power, solar photovoltaics, energy saving technologies, etc. All in all, the platform has covered the majority of subjects pertaining to green energy. Nevertheless, Zhou admitted that Taiwan has a serious shortage of workers when it comes to strengthening the entire electric power system of the island and widening the adoption of smart grid technologies. In the future, ITRI will support the government’s energy transition policies by focusing on nurturing industry talents in these fields. ITRI currently aims to train at least 2,000 specialists in green energy and grid management per year through its various education programs.
(News source: TechNews. Photo credit: Industrial Technology Research Institute.)