China poised for dominance of global renewables market, says report

China will likely expand its dominance of the global renewable- and clean-energy industries as new American energy policies come into play, concludes a report published on 6 January by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

Offshore wind farm at dusk in the east China sea.

Tim Buckley, lead author of the report and IEEFA’s director of energy finance studies, said the US will very likely become less competitive economically if the Trump administration is able to deliver on its intentions to slow a global energy transition that is gaining momentum.
“The US is already slipping well behind China in the race to secure a larger share of the booming clean energy market. With the incoming administration talking up coal and gas, prospective domestic policy changes don’t bode well,” Buckley said. “If the US is serious about stimulating manufacturing-based growth, clean energy isn’t a sector to turn away from.”
The report details how China made a record $32 billion in overseas investment deals in 2016 alone, marking a 60 percent year-on-year rise in spending.
The report also includes 30 case studies of Chinese companies that are expanding their renewable and clean energy footprints domestically and internationally. It notes the country’s ambitious “pan-Asia” approach across the sector and its growing presence in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America. The report puts Chinese global investment in clean energy annually at more than $100 billion, more than twice what the US is investing.
China is the world’s largest investor in clean energy with US$102.9bn invested in renewables (excluding large hydro) in 2015, up 17% over 2014. This represents well over one third of global investment, with the US in second place, but well behind, at US$44.1bn. Most of this Chinese investment has been domestic, but Chinese companies and institutions are increasingly looking overseas for opportunities in renewable energy development, says the report.
China will install 36% of all global hydro electricity generation capacity from 2015-2021. Similarly, China will install 40% of all worldwide wind energy and 36% of all solar in this same period.
• The report China’s Global Renewable Energy Expansion: How the World’s Second-Biggest Economy Is Positioned to Lead the World in Clean-Power Investment is produced by the IEEFA.

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