UWM Taiwan-American Business Forum addresses energy infrastructure challenges in the face of climate change

Energy infrastructure issues in the face of climate change pose challenges both in the United States and abroad. Finding solutions also creates opportunities for collaboration among higher education institutions, government agencies, and private companies to advance research and meet workforce needs.

UWM hosted the Taiwan-US Midwest Business Forum Monday in cooperation with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago to discuss these and other issues related to energy infrastructure and climate change.

A woman speaks at a lectern in a ballroom
The Taiwan-US Midwest Business Forum brought together Wisconsin and Illinois legislators, policymakers, industry leaders and academic researchers. (UWM Photo/Troye Fox)

Panelists at the UWM Student Union Ballroom event included lawmakers from Wisconsin and Illinois, policymakers, industry leaders and academic researchers.

The forum provided a place to discuss possible solutions to challenges in areas such as energy production, distribution, use and storage in the face of climate change.

The talks are “very timely given that Taiwan and the US have announced very ambitious plans to cut emissions,” said Johnson Chiang, director-general of the Taipei Bureau of Economics and Culture in Chicago.

Chiang noted that Taiwan has a goal of electrifying all government vehicles and city buses by 2030. President Biden is also aiming for 2030, by which time electric vehicles should make up half of all vehicles sold in the United States.

“That means we need a lot of energy infrastructure, not only with charging stations, but also with the ecosystem of EV-related companies,” Chiang said.

The speakers at the forum included executives from Taiwanese companies based in the Midwest. Panellists also discussed the role of higher education in meeting labor demand and fostering innovation.

UWM Chancellor Mark Mone, in his opening remarks, emphasized the university’s focus on partnerships and how these help foster collaboration and open pathways to research and learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff. For example, WE Energies is a supporting member of one such partnership, the Connected Systems Institute.

The event concluded with networking opportunities over lunch for attendees, which included students.

“This is about looking to the future and specifically about energy and infrastructure issues,” Mone said. “How do we want our future to look like and how do we get there – that’s what today is about.”

The event was also sponsored by the Greater Chicago Taiwan-American Chamber of Commerce and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Area Chamber of Commerce.

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