Abstract Taiwan is a high energy-dependent nation with about 97% of our energy needs supplied by imported fuels in 2002. Environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are becoming significant environmental issues in the country. In this regard, renewable energy is thus becoming attractive in recent years based on the energy policy for the sustainable development and environmental pollution mitigation in Taiwan. In response to the balance between economic development, energy supply stability and environment protection, the Energy Commission under the Ministry of Economic Affairs has issued the Renewable Energy Development Plan in 2001. The objective of this paper is to present an updated overview of current utilization and future development on renewable energy, including biomass energy, solar energy (i.e., photovoltaic power and solar water heating), wind energy and geothermal energy. The description is first centered on energy production/consumption situation and greenhouse gas emissions status, and then concerned with renewable energy utilization in terms of environmental impacts, especially in air pollution. Finally, we present the promotion measures related to the renewable energy utilization under the government regulations, industrial policy, financial incentives and funding supports.