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China’s energy boom turbocharges green shift

China’s energy boom turbocharges green shift

China’s unwavering focus on low-carbon development has fostered a new energy boom in the world’s second-largest economy, with the tailwinds blowing beyond to speed up the world’s green shift.

China’s new energy boom not only underpins the realisation of the country’s green development goals, but also contributes to the global green transition by offering quality and affordable products, as well as Chinese technologies and solutions, said guest speakers at the fifth episode of the China Economic Roundtable, an all-media talk platform hosted by Xinhua News Agency.

In 2020, China made a solemn commitment to the world that it plans to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

The country has since then embarked on a fast track toward these goals, with notable areas including renewable energy capacity, industrial upgrades, and a world-leading position in new energy vehicles (NEVs), solar panels and lithium battery production.

Its NEV fleet has more than quadrupled since 2020 to over 20 million at the end of 2023.

This has made China the world’s largest producer and consumer of NEVs.

Its installed renewable energy capacity made history by surpassing thermal power for the first time last year, accounting for about half of the world’s renewable energy capacity additions, according to Huo Fupeng, a National Development and Reform Commission official.

Calling China “the world’s renewables powerhouse,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast that China will account for almost 60% of new renewable capacity expected to become operational globally by 2028.

Analysts attributed the new energy buildup to the country’s pro-green-growth policies, its enormous domestic market, complete industrial and supply chains, and rich talent pool.

Taking NEVs as an example, He Hailin, an official with the Industry and Information Technology Ministry, said China has the advantages of vast market demand, a complete industrial system to ensure supply and a huge and high-calibre workforce.

Additionally, China’s continued technological innovation and research and development also contribute towards the sector’s competitive advantages.

China’s new energy industry has not only achieved success in the domestic market, but is also actively going global, enhancing the sector’s level of internationalisation and competitiveness.

“China possesses both the capability and responsibility to leverage its comparative advantages in the new energy industry, contributing Chinese technologies, products, and solutions for the world,” Huo said.

A report by the IEA said that in 2023, manufacturing a polysilicon PV module was 30% more expensive in the United States compared to China, 10% higher in India, and 60% higher in the European Union.

This has led to a decline in solar module prices of more than 80% over the last decade, said Heymi Bahar, a senior analyst with the IEA, noting lower prices for solar modules has helped all countries expand solar PV deployment.

China has signed contracts with around 100 countries and regions to help them develop new energy projects, while its NEVs have been exported to more than 180 countries and regions.

They rank among the most popular brands in countries including France, Thailand and Indonesia, Huo said.

While certain Western nations have portrayed China’s escalating NEV exports as evidence of overcapacity, the speakers refuted such narrative, asserting that exports-based reasoning also cannot hold water.

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