The energy transformation of Taiwan has invigorated development in renewable energy, energy storage system, and power grid upgrade, and renewable energy has become a cross-field industry after the induction of information and communication technology, though this wave of “new revolution” also indicates that the power market would require additional cross-field talents in order to maintain the sustainability of the industry.
Edwin Liu, President of ITRI and the Taiwan Power and Energy Engineering Association, commented during his oration that power systems are important foundation for the economic growth of Taiwan, and the implementation of renewable energy and power grid upgrades by the country in recent years not only requires the existing power systems, but also cross-field talents. Yang Wei-fu, Chairman of TPC, commented that talents of electricity, machinery, civil engineering, and hydraulic engineering had been emphasized in the past, though the increase in the ratio of renewable energy in the future, and the need of responding to power grid upgrades, will require increasing talents in energy storage, information and communication, computer science and information engineering, economic statistics, big data analysis, and mass media, for future business models.
According to the data of IEK Consulting, solar energy, wind energy, and the energy storage system industry will gradually rebound in 2021 upon an improvement in the pandemic status, and the global market value will rise from US$207.6 billion to US$246.1 billion, equaling an 18% increase. Energy transformation is also an essential advancement for Taiwan, as the major electricity user clause will officially commence next year, which requires businesses that uses 5MW of “contract capacity” or above to incorporate green power that is bound to actuate a rapid development in renewable energy and energy storage equipment, and result in a need of diversified talents.
However, the economic growth over the past several years has led to talent gaps and deficiency. Yao Leeh-ter, 13th examination committee of the Examination Yuan, commented that among various groups of the department of electrical engineering, the power group is least favorable among students due to the relatively higher construction expenditure for high voltage laboratories, and the comparatively restricted job opportunities. In addition, the conservative environment of the “past” electricity industry, where the changes in power products were constrained, have resulted in the lack of competitiveness for oligopolistic power companies, and the matured technology is able to develop each year, though with a restricted degree.
It is the same for all advanced countries in the world, especially with the ICT industry in Taiwan, though Yao believes that the government’s decision in suspending nuclear energy by vigorously developing renewable energy, and stipulating the target of 20% renewable energy by 2025, has introduced a silent revolution of power. A substantial improvement in the technology of smart power grids will require advanced technology, including precise regulation, energy storage, and various auxiliary services (fast responsive reserve, regulation reserve, spinning reserve, and supplemental reserve). The power industry has welcomed a new turning point and commercial opportunities.
In addition to traditional power courses, partial universities have also incorporated innovative courses such as renewable energy, energy regulation, and electric vehicle. Liu pointed out that universities will serve as the medium to long term plan for power talents, whereas power grid schools conduct short-term matchmaking, and offer foundation and advanced courses for aspirants, in the hope of replenishing the talent deficiency and gap for the power industry under the assistance from all sectors.
(Cover photo source: ITRI)