Closer global ties urged for green transition

Experts call for stronger international efforts to advance decarbonization

The global community should deepen international cooperation to advance the global green energy transition focusing on decarbonization and digitalization, officials and experts said at a forum on Wednesday.

Speaking at the 2023 International Forum on Energy Transition in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, Zhang Jianhua, head of the National Energy Administration, said, "Further efforts are called for to strengthen global collaboration in clean and efficient energy use, with a focus on promoting clean, low-carbon transformations in energy-intensive industries like manufacturing, construction and transportation, while propelling the digitalization and decarbonization of energy systems."

Zhang said: "China will further improve the investment and financing environment, ensuring the security, stability and sustainability of supply chains in the clean energy industry. This involves expanding the scale of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power and driving continuous cost reductions in renewable energy."

He said China's overseas investments in non-fossil energy have surpassed those in fossil fuels. Zhang emphasized that China's pursuit of clean, low-carbon, secure and efficient energy systems has injected great momentum into global energy transformation and security.

Data from the NEA showed that the share of non-fossil energy consumption increased from 9.7 percent in 2012 to 17.5 percent in China last year. Zhang said China has led the world in energy efficiency growth, with a consumption growth rate of less than 3 percent annually, contributing to over 6 percent in economic growth on average.

To date, China has established the world's largest electricity supply system and clean power generation system, with hydropower, wind power, photovoltaics, biomass power and under-construction nuclear power all ranking first globally, according to the NEA.

As of June, the cumulative installed power capacity stood at 2.71 billion kilowatts, with the installed capacity of renewable energy reaching 1.32 billion kW, surpassing coal power and growing approximately threefold in a decade.

"China has made unwavering efforts to develop new energies and reduce the use of fossil fuels. The country has made great contributions to the world's green transition in the way that its energy companies continue to work to reduce the cost of solar, wind and hydropower, allowing more global users to buy solar panels and other facilities at a very low cost, giving more people access to affordable electricity," said Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, said China was among the major economies to have made positive progress in transitioning energy systems.

According to Brende, global investment in clean energy reached a record $1.6 trillion in 2022, up 15 percent from the year before. The global renewable capacity additions are set to soar this year by 107 gigawatts — the largest increase ever.

Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar headquartered in Suzhou, said that 10 years from now, photovoltaic battery efficiency is likely to rise from over 25 percent to 35 percent, supported by technological advancement, and the industry will contribute more to the global green energy transition with lower material consumption and less land use.

"Closer ties are expected on a global scale to battle risks brought up by climate change. Canadian Solar has provided around 102 GW of solar modules for over 160 countries and regions, and has PV and power storage station projects across more than 20 countries and regions, with the number of reserved projects ranking tops globally," Qu said.

"China's development of green energy is on a fast track and Covestro has been buying large amounts of green power in the country. We were the number one buyer of green power in Shanghai in 2022.Now we are interested in seeking more partners and suppliers in the fields of solar, wind and hydropower," said Ferdinand Rammrath, chief procurement officer of Covestro AG.

"China has been a major market for Covestro and will continue to be extremely important for the company in the future. Our largest production site is located in Shanghai," Rammrath said.

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