China has proposed development of a global clean energy partnership that will support investments and integrate clean energy supply chains to help countries meet their net zero targets, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a "concept document" published late Oct 11.
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The proposal comes just ahead of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP27, scheduled in November and is likely to set the stage for China to initiate dialogue with potential partners in the coming months.
It is also significant because in recent months there have been calls for strategic disengagement with China due to its control over a large portion of clean energy manufacturing supply chains. For instance, organizations such as the International Energy Agency said that while China has been instrumental in bringing down worldwide solar PV costs, with multiple benefits for clean energy transitions, the level of geographical concentration in global supply chains also poses potential challenges that governments need to address.
For China, formulating clean energy partnerships, especially with developing countries, will facilitate the creation of new demand centers and help expand its market shares.
Such collaboration can also enhance clean energy affordability and accelerate economic growth in partner countries, the government document said.
"We encourage ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] countries, African Union countries, Arab League countries, SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization] countries, and BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa] countries to join this partnership framework," it said.
The document outlined five areas of collaboration. Firstly, China and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will co-host an international energy revolution forum, which aims to raise awareness and establish platforms that support global energy transition.
Secondly, China called for bilateral and multilateral collaboration, exchanging information about climate policies, and bridging connections between partner countries' climate-related, market mechanisms. Thirdly, developing "small and beautiful" clean energy projects that consider the different conditions of individual partner countries and utilize their unique advantages.
Fourthly, China plans to promote clean energy investments, further lowering the production costs of clean energy, creating more jobs, and improving cost effectiveness throughout the entire value chain. Lastly, China plans to enable the exchange of cutting-edge technologies and professionals with partner countries, accelerating innovation and continuously upgrading clean energy industries.
"Enabling clean energy to shoulder the pressure of energy supplies is the foundation to safeguard energy security in the long term," the document said. However, the document does not provide finer details and it remains unclear how the government plans to implement it.
China has the world's largest solar and wind installation capacities, which totaled 1,063 GW as of 2021, official data showed. Besides, China has become the world's biggest exporter for solar and wind products. IEA data showed that China's share in all the manufacturing stages of solar panels exceeds 80%, from polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells to modules.