TIGC 2023 highlights opportunities in geothermal industry in Taiwan

TIGC 2023 highlights opportunities in geothermal industry in Taiwan 2023 Taiwan International Geothermal Conference in Taipei, Taiwan (source: MOEA)
Carlo Cariaga 16 Jan 2023

Through legislation and an open policy for collaboration, there are plenty of opportunities to participate in the growth of the geothermal industry in Taiwan.

On January 9th, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) of Taiwan hosted the 2023 Taiwan International Geothermal Conference (TIGC). This conference was originally proposed by the Taiwan Geothermal Association, which led the effort to invite key players in the geothermal industry from Taiwan and across the globe to present on state-of-the-art geothermal technologies and market trends at the conference.

The 2023 TIGC was inaugurated with the opening remarks by the Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng, who extended his welcome to the conference’s 11 speakers from countries including the United States, Japan, Italy, Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, Philippines, Singapore. The speakers had prepared presentations on topics ranging from geothermal development technologies and anti-corrosion materials to power plant commercialization and management. Their audience comprised representatives from over 30 international companies and more than 450 in-person attendees from the industry, the government, and academia, and another 120 attendees participating online.

Geothermal as a key component to renewable energy strategy

During his opening remarks, the Deputy Minister announced that Taiwan had already developed a concrete 2050 Net Zero roadmap and released 12 key decarbonization strategies at the end of 2022 to join the global net zero movement. In order for the capacity of geothermal – which plays a not insignificant role in the roadmap – to be ramped up, access to state-of-the-art geothermal technologies will be crucial. It was therefore his hope that, through this conference, Taiwanese stakeholders could partner with international geothermal companies and acquire technologies suitable for Taiwan to expedite the deployment of geothermal in the country.

“Geothermal is crucial to Taiwan’s renewable development. In the past couple of years, in fact, the Taiwanese government has been working with academia, NGOs, and our own organizations to update itself on the latest geothermal developments in the hope that there can be more technological breakthroughs that can be more extensively applied in Taiwan,” said the Deputy Minister.

The Deputy Minister also emphasized that the event provided an opportunity for Taiwan’s state-owned enterprises, Taipower and CPC Corporation, to create connections with international firms and potential partners for the development of geothermal in Taiwan.

“I would like to inform our guests that the multiple players in Taiwan’s geothermal industry have been increasingly committed to exploration and development. I am sure that our international guests will be able to find the various kinds of partners they need or collaborate with CPC Corporation or Taipower directly to enter Taiwan and find the right locations and resources as soon as possible. We also hope that our guests can give some policy advice to the Taiwanese government so that we can make more progressive policies that will expedite geothermal deployment in Taiwan,” he added.

Knowledge exchange and future plans for geothermal in Taiwan

According to the MOEA, there were six main topics at the conference: the status quo of geothermal development in Taiwan, advanced heat extraction technologies, drilling and drilling materials, power plant development technologies, other issues related to geothermal development, and current geothermal projects in Taiwan. There was also a panel on suggestions for Taiwan’s geothermal development at the end of the conference.

To explain the status quo of geothermal development in Taiwan, the Central Geological Survey of the MOEA presented on the 10 high-potential geothermal areas identified after preliminary analysis. To assure stakeholders of the Taiwanese government’s commitment to geothermal development, the MOEA explained incentives such as the feed-in tariff (FIT) and the demonstration project rebate scheme.

It also mentioned that a proposal of a revised version of the Renewable Energy Development Act had already been submitted, and in this version, geothermal-specific provisions were included to regulate exploration, development, and operation. To accelerate geothermal development, the central government will coordinate with local governments to enforce these regulations.

Representatives from several international companies also presented on advanced heat extraction technologies ranging from conventional geothermal systems (CGS) to advanced geothermal systems (AGS), from single-well heat extraction systems to innovative hybrid systems. Regarding drilling and tubing materials, presentations were given on high-resolution geophysical technologies, power plant commercialization, and anti-corrosion casing materials.

In the afternoon, there were presentations on a variety of geothermal-related technologies as well as case studies on project development. The issues these presentations sought to address included retrofitting existing geothermal wells to increase electricity output and CO2 monitoring.

Representatives from a number of Taiwanese geothermal developing entities also reported the progress of several projects, including the Chingshuei Geothermal Power Plant in Yilan, the Jinlun Geothermal Power Plant in Taitung, and the Renze and Tuchang Geothermal Power Plants that the state-owned utility Taipower and the state-owned oil and gas company CPC Corporation are currently building.

Panel discussion at the 2023 Taiwan International Geothermal Conference (source: MOEA)

During the panel at the end of the conference, the Director-general of the Bureau of Yu Cheng- wei hosted a discussion with Taiwanese and international geothermal developers on the potential forms of partnership for geothermal development in Taiwan, the factors that international developers would consider before making investments, and the resources that the
government could provide. By understanding what international developers thought about entering the Taiwanese geothermal market, the government could create more opportunities for constructive technological transfer.

The MOEA deeply appreciates the international participants’ time and insights, and it looks forward to further engaging with experts from around the world to form partnerships that would lead to a geothermal future in Taiwan.

Source: Email correspondence