Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Cathay FHC leads Taiwan’s Renewable Energy Push at LSEG’s Climate Investment Summit During Climate Week London

Cathay FHC’s Three Arrows for Energy Transition: Renewable Energy Investment and Financing, Innovative Collaboration in Renewable Energy, and Leveraging Core Competencies to Innovate Services.

TAIPEI, June 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Sustainable finance boosts the competitiveness of achieving net-zero transformation. Yesterday (26th), Lee Chang-Ken, President of Cathay Financial Holdings (Cathay FHC), personally attended the “Climate Investment Summit” at the London Stock Exchange (LSEG), marking the second consecutive year he has been the only speaker from Taiwan. Building on the consensus of “Energy System Transformation and Moving Away from Fossil Fuels” reached at the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in 2023, Lee used Asia as an example to discuss the challenges and solutions in promoting renewable energy, sharing Cathay FHC’s cross-industry efforts and tangible results in driving renewable energy initiatives. This demonstrated Taiwan’s financial sector’s success in achieving net-zero transformation on a global scale.

The “Climate Investment Summit” has been an iconic platform of global climate solutions, held at the historical financial hub of LSEG. Cathay FHC not only became the only Taiwanese financial institution invited to the summit again but also acted as a bridge for energy transition dialogue between Europe, America, and Asia. This signifies the international recognition of Taiwan’s financial industry’s commitment and achievements in energy transition. Lee participated in the summit’s discussion on “Renewable Returns: The Business Case for Mature Energy Technologies,” sharing how Cathay FHC supports the development of low-carbon industries through capital and innovative financial services. Cathay FHC has been recognized for two consecutive years as a global best practice case by the “Investor Agenda” for its “Investor Climate Action Plans” (ICAPs), making it the only selected asset owner in Asia.

During the panel, Lee pointed out the pain points and solutions for promoting renewable energy in Southeast Asia, shared the history of the Taiwanese government’s efforts in promoting renewable energy, and discussed Cathay FHC’s role as a pioneer in the field. Cathay FHC continues to lead intrial implementation, guiding the market to understand the feasibility. ‘We are also pleased to support various innovative models that will benefit the future,’ emphasizes Lee. It is noted that Asia is the main source of global electricity demand growth and still heavily relies on fossil fuels. Southeast Asian governments should continue to enhance policy stability and strengthen infrastructure, while making good use of financial tools such as guarantees or blended finance to improve the cost of capital and investment risks in emerging markets. They should also address just transition issues such as labor employment to ensure the success of the energy transition.

Cathay FHC is the sixth financial institution in Asia to set SBT validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). It has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in its financial assetsby 2050. Cathay FHC is also the first Taiwanese financial industry member of RE100 and a pioneer in renewable energy financing in Taiwan. In the fields of low-carbon transition and renewable energy innovation, Cathay FHC continues to lead in trial implementations, guiding the market to understand feasibility and becoming a key driver of renewable energy in Taiwan. In 2023, Cathay FHC’s renewable energy usage reached 17.95 million kWh, and by the end of 2023, the total amount of low-carbon investments and financing amounted to NT$330.5 billion (approximately equivalent to USD 11.7 billion).

Regarding Cathay FHC’ path to promoting renewable energy development, Lee outlined three major strategies. The first strategy involves “Enhancing Renewable Energy Investments and Financing.” In 2023, Cathay FHC’s total investments and financing in renewable energy reached NT$63.3 billion (approximately USD 2 billion), with a solar installation capacity of 1,504 MW. Cathay United Bank pioneered Taiwan’s first solar and offshore wind power financing; Cathay Life Insurance became Taiwan’s first life insurance company to establish the solar project investment firm “Cathay Power”. Recently, this company has been developing renewable energy on land deemed unsuitable for agriculture by the Ministry of Agriculture, fostering a mutually beneficial scenario for land revitalization and renewable energy development, while increasing power generation to meet market demand.

Secondly, Cathay FHC promotes “Innovative Collaboration in Renewable Energy.” Lee believes that Cathay FHC’s emphasis on stakeholders’ success, active attempts at collaborative innovation, and the pursuit of suitable directions to identify success stories are the reasons why Cathay FHC can continually overcome challenges and accelerate the development of renewable energy. For example, Cathay Power aims to systematically think about agrivoltaics, creating a standardized, scalable, and sustainable agrivoltaics model. The collaboration with the government to launch the “Agri-Light Project” agrivoltaics experiment in Dalin, Chiayi, is an innovative plan that integrates the cultivation of forge grass with photovoltaic technology. This initiative addresses several issues: it is expected to reduces Taiwan’s reliance on imported forage and mitigates the risks of instability of the international supply chain while avoiding negative impact on local agriculture. Furthermore, livestock manure can be utilized for biogas power generation, with the residue serving as organic fertilizer, thereby promoting balanced and circular agriculture in Taiwan.

Thirdly, Lee emphasized the importance of “Leveraging Core Competencies to Innovate Services.” Facing the numerous challenges climate change poses to businesses, Cathay FHC proactively seeks solutions by leveraging its core financial competencies to offer diverse, innovative services, turning challenges into opportunities. For example, Cathay Securities collaborated closely with Cathay FHC’ Digital Data & Technology Center(DDT)’s blockchain team to develop a Security Token Offering (STO) product, Taiwan’s first STO. The issuance involves a 6-year debt-based STO offering a 3.5% annual interest rate. Coupled with a preferential purchase mechanism for electric machinery, the overall investment return rate increases significantly, assisting green energy enterprises in raising funds from professional investors and giving investors more confidence. Small and medium-sized enterprises often struggle to independently purchase green power. As Taiwan’s largest commercial real estate owner, Cathay Life consolidates the purchase and distribution of green power, enabling our tenants to obtain it more efficiently. This approach plays a vital role in bridging the renewable energy supply-demand gap. In 2023, 18 enterprises received a total of 13.49 million kWh of green power.

Lee further stated that Cathay FHC is dedicated to collaborating with partners and customers from various sectors to explore more climate solutions together. On coming July 3rd, the annual “Cathay Sustainable Finance and Climate Change Summit,” will focus on net-zero solutions and sustainable finance. This summit will feature prominent experts and leading companies in sustainability, including Sam Kimmins, Director of Energy at the Climate Group, who will together share forward-looking perspectives and industry practices. The event aims to guide Taiwanese enterprises in accelerating climate action and showcasing Taiwan’s industrial achievements and commitment to net-zero goals on the global stage.

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SOURCE Cathay Financial Holdings

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