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Taiwan pledges $1.3 billion green investment

Apr 23, 2009 - The Associated Press

Taipei, Taiwan - Taiwan will invest 45 billion New Taiwan dollars ($1.3 billion) to expand and upgrade the island's solar and wind energy industries and help reduce the use of fuel, the Cabinet said Thursday.

A key part of the five-year project will be the Light-Emitting Diode industry, which produces illuminating appliances that consume less energy and have longer life span, the Government Information Office said in a statement.

The Cabinet did not give a breakdown of spending, but said the move is expected to spur up to NT$200 billion ($5.5 billion) in private investment over the next five years.

The government said the money will be spent on developing related technologies, subsidizing manufacturers and building energy-saving schools and other installations.

LED appliances have greater export potential because of their wide applications, officials said.

In addition to outdoor and automobile lighting, LEDs are used in cell phones and digital cameras because of their compact size and ultra-brightness.

Taiwan's LED industry generated NT$54 billion ($1.6 billion) in revenues last year, second only to Japan, according to the government-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute.

The government has urged LED makers to spend more on research and development to reduce their reliance on foreign patent-holders and improve their profit margins.

Economics Minister Yiin Chii-ming said Taiwan's solar energy industry recorded total revenues of NT$100 billion ($3 billion) in 2008. The government will seek foreign investment to bring in know-how and increase the industry's export competitiveness, Yiin said.