'Green Silk Road' a major step on clean energy journey

By Wang Yuke | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-09-25 08:49
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Sharkawi (second from right), discusses working practices with colleagues. ZHU WEIJIE/CHINA DAILY

Exchange of knowledge

China has liaised with countries and regions participating in the BRI, hoping to address the problem of climate change. Despite that, some international commentators complain that the country is tightening its grip on the renewable energy chain.

Loai Sharkawi, an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) construction manager with the PV solar project, has experience of the cross-pollination of knowledge driven by the partnership.

Standing at an oval table, where an oversized strategy map was unfurled and a projector flickered overhead, he led a team of engineers, contractors and suppliers in a frenzied discussion as they gesticulated, scribbled notes and picked each other's brains.

Inspecting the "road map", as Sharkawi called it, and brainstorming feasible solutions when work deviates from the expected course is a regular routine, he said. There is a free flow of knowledge and transparency of techniques, without the need to keep knowledge and information to oneself, which he appreciates.

All the skills picked up during the project will become strong points on his resume. "I'll carry the knowledge into my future career, projects, other companies, developers and owners to help make the planet green," he said.

Alobaidli said: "As a technology agnostic company, we're open to working with manufacturers, investors and EPC partners from all over the world. We have never found ourselves in a difficult situation where we have had to only work with Chinese (entities)."

What drives them to develop a sustained partnership is when they see the technical and economic value a partner can bring and the contractor or investor is on the same wavelength, which is a recipe for the collaboration with China, he added.

Meanwhile, Quentin des Cressonnieres, general manager of Engie Services Kuwait, said, "China is at the top of the clean energy innovation, with its forte being cost-effective manufacturing facilities: high-capacity factories to produce solar panels."

In an open-source world, there is little concealment of information or knowledge. "With Chinese contractors and all the others as well, we can maintain a very transparent and reciprocal relationship," he said.

Man Hau-chung, dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said there have always been skeptical voices "because everyone (from the international community) wants the whole cake. They don't want to share it with you, but Chinese policies for the BRI are all about sharing. We're helping developing countries along the Green Silk Road build infrastructure and develop renewable energies and transport."

These things are their lifelines, he said, adding that he envisages a more powerful dynamic in green energy globally in the future.

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