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How China's clean power biz, tech are changing world

By Zheng Xin | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-18 08:53

The file photo shows a wind power plant in Zhangjiakou, North China's Hebei province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Not many might know, but Chinese energy companies, armed with unparalleled expertise in technologies and sophisticated equipment, have been expanding their green presence on the global stage in recent years.

Their impact ranges from the Belo Monte power transmission projects — the first "power express" in South America that has solved local power shortage — built by State Grid Corp of China, to the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant in Pakistan, which uses Hualong One, China's third-generation nuclear power technology with full intellectual property rights.

Ever since China ceased building coal-fired power projects overseas in 2021, the green trend has accelerated, with the country's major power companies making active adjustments, shifting their focus to green investments.

Many domestic energy and power companies are increasingly focusing on renewable energy projects such as solar and wind power globally, with the number of new energy projects invested by Chinese power companies last year rising nearly 56 percent year-on-year, covering regions such as Southeast Asia, Europe, Oceania and Latin America, according to the China Electricity Council.

The Belt and Road Initiative has been playing a significant role in driving the green trend of Chinese power companies in the global market of late, it said.

The conclusion is echoed by the China Electric Power Planning &Engineering Institute, saying energy cooperation accounts for around 40 percent of the total investment in countries and regions participating in the BRI, while the power sector itself accounts for half of the energy investment.

This has not only promoted the sharing and exchange of clean energy resources, but supported the development and utilization of renewable energy on a regional scale.

As I see it, Chinese companies are already playing a key role, injecting strong momentum into local economic and social sustainable development. They, however, are still at the middle and lower segments of the international industrial chain, with relatively low overall project profit.

The complex and time-consuming approval processes, together with the financial institutions' financing models, which lack flexibility and thus result in relatively high financing costs and red tape, are not suitable for the highly competitive market environment, leading to a gap between their practices and those of international counterparts in the industry.

As countries around the world are accelerating their green energy transition while stepping up efforts to ensure domestic energy security and expand their power investment scale, it is necessary for China to further optimize its policy, improve international competitiveness, adjust and improve the financial support system, and create a diversified financial support model.

Some of the State-owned enterprises and private companies are already strengthening cooperation in energy technology innovation and transfer of results, to better exploit the country's comprehensive advantages in technology, capital, talent and equipment.

This will further facilitate global carbon reduction while consolidating China's position as a global leader in the renewable energy sector.

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