China will drive forward renewable energy for many years to come

China has dominated the building and financing of clean energy technologies in 2017 setting the country well on track to drive growth in the sector for decades.

The Australia-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has published a report examining how China performed in renewables last year, especially whilst the US renewed its commitment to coal and shifted away from the clean energy transition.

Tim Buckley, co-author of the report and IEEFA’s Director of Energy Finance studies, explained: “The clean energy market is growing at a rapid pace and China is setting itself up as a global technology leader while the U.S. government looks the other way”.

“Although China isn’t necessarily intending to fill the climate leadership void left by the U.S. withdrawal from Paris, it will certainly be very comfortable providing technology leadership and financial capacity so as to dominate fast-growing sectors such as solar energy, electric vehicles, and batteries”, he added.

The growing Chinese dominance is led by the Belt and Road Initiative which drives China’s infrastructure investment and exports.

Since its inauguration, solar equipment of more than $8 billion has been exported. Today, Chinese solar manufacturers account for more than 60 percent of global cell production affirming China’s leadership in solar manufacturing, with the country now being the biggest exporter of environmental goods and services.

The report identified that large overseas clean energy projects - as in projects valued at more than $1 billion, exceeded $44 billion in investment in 2017 setting a new milestone for China. The previous record was reported in 2016 when the country mobilised $32 billion for renewable energy projects overseas.

Mr. Buckley added: “It has become clear that renewables will be the dominant energy technology of the following decades with even the cautious International Energy Agency (IEA) accepting that renewables will receive the majority of energy investment going forward”.

“China is not going to buck this trend; although it is still investing in some coal projects around the world, China will embrace the direction energy markets are moving in and is setting itself up as a global technology leader”, he added.

You can read the full “China 2017 Review: World’s Second-Biggest Economy Continues to Drive Global Trends in Energy Investment” here

News published on Climate Action Programme
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