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AU Optronics vs CIRES Symposium

Date: 23rd May 2022

Venue: Conference room, College of Environmental Studies, National Dong Hwa University

To understand each other's ideas and lay a good foundation for future cooperation, AU Optronics (AUO) and CIRES arranged a symposium after the MOU signing ceremony with National Dong Hwa University (NDHU).

During the meeting, CIRES Director Sun mentioned one of the daunting challenges is how to reduce carbon emissions and achieve Taiwan’s 2050 net-zero goal in the face of increasingly serious global warming. This is not a problem that can be solved by a single discipline. Taking advantage of the cross-disciplinary advantages of professors from College of Environmental Studies from NDHU, CIRES research team consists of seven professors from natural science and social science background, focusing on issues related to the renewable energy development, hoping to construct an integrated social-ecological system evaluation model and provide possible solutions for society.

In recent years, land competition and disputes are continuously going on over land use for renewable energy, agricultural, and ecological conservation. Taking the ground-mounted solar panel plant as an example, due to the mosaic nature of the landscape, the size of the project site and the configuration methods are different. It will cause different impacts on the living organism habitat distribution and the cycle of carbon, water, and soil nutrients. The team hopes to collect a landscape-scale assessment framework by establishing a standardized monitoring method. The team gets to conduct socio-economic assessments, and work with multiple stakeholders such as enterprises, locals, NGOs, etc., to try to solve the problem of "appropriate renewable energy facility".

AUO has always emphasized sustainable development in corporate operation. It established a sustainability committee in 2013 and upgraded to ESG and climate committee in 2021 to strengthen climate governance under the original sustainability goals. In March 2022, AUO joined RE100 which led by the Climate Group and in partnership with Carbon Disclosure Project, becoming the first solar panel company to commit to be using 100% renewable energy by 2050. The three aspects of AUO EPS (Environment, People, Society) include environmental sustainability, inclusive growth, and flexible innovation, all of which are in continuous operation.

AUO’s energy business unit provides services range from solar modules, package components to solar systems; as well as energy storage systems and microgrid systems, intelligent maintenance system, energy management, and solar panel construction. At present, the overall installed capacity of solar power plants by AUO is about 300MW, spanning roof type, water surface type and ground-mounted type. TY Lin, the Vice President of Energy Business mentioned that the solar power plant is currently promoted by Shining Star Energy, a joint venture between AUO, Taiwan Life and Fubon Life. 100% of the funds of Shining Star Energy are used for renewable energy in Taiwan, and it is committed to the long-term operation of Taiwan’s electricity industry.

Vice President Lin was particularly grateful for this exchange and cooperation opportunity; and agreed with Director Sun’s proposal on the large-scale planning for ground-mounted solar panel power plants. He hopes to use the experience and knowledge of the professors in CIRES to find out a practical and long-term practice in Taiwan.

Professor Hsing-Sheng Tai mentioned that although there is different expertise among CIRES members, but the members are not locked in the ivory tower of academia to understand the engineering, technical and financial aspects from the perspective of the industry, no matter from the aspect of knowledge or information. We would like to thanks AUO for willing to work with us to see how we can implement the solar panel plan in Hualien; and to develop a good governance model to make Taiwan a better country. We all are looking forward to achieving this goal.

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