On the afternoon of September 12, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by Dr. Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman of the Solar Impulse in Switzerland. She stated that Dr. Piccard is a pioneer who leads people to give up old ways of thinking, a role she expects herself to be for the country. The president also expressed hope for more exchanges with Dr. Piccard on renewable energy and the circular economy.
President Tsai stated that she is familiar with Dr. Piccard's accomplishments from his TED talk a few years ago, when the Solar Impulse project was just getting off the ground. Back then, skeptics said that Solar Impulse could only carry one passenger, so the technology wasn't mature enough. However, as Dr. Piccard said, the plane that carried Charles Augustus Lindbergh across the Atlantic could also carry just one passenger. But a few decades later, every plane crossing the Atlantic had a few hundred passengers.
The president said that Dr. Piccard's TED talk made a deep impression on her, because it's clear that if there is one real pioneer, then other people will know which way to go. So as long as that first pioneer has the courage to try, people will follow. She added that Dr. Piccard is a pioneer who leads people to give up old ways of thinking, and as president, she hopes to be that kind of pioneer.
Many government reforms are just like the Solar Impulse, the president stated. During the first phase, they may not receive 100% support. But for the sake of the next generation, she pledged that she will stay the course. It's the same with the Taiwan government's current efforts to transform the energy industry, and we also have our doubters. The president believes that 10 years from now, everyone will look back, and see that using renewable energy was the logical thing to do.
President Tsai mentioned that after completing his round-the-world flight on a solar-powered airplane, Dr. Piccard founded the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions. He hopes to get more people to re-think traditional sources of energy, seek business model innovations to drive the use of new energy sources, and develop circular economies to improve the environment and quality of life. The president believes that the Taiwan government is facing the same challenge.
In closing, President Tsai expressed hope for more exchanges with Dr. Piccard. Since the Taiwan government is actively promoting important industries like renewable energy and the circular economy, she said, Dr. Piccard's ideas and experiences will be a tremendous help.
The visiting delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by Trade Office of Swiss Industries Director Rolf Urs Frei and Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yang Wei-Fuu (楊偉甫).