Wednesday, August 11, 2010

China Unveils Clean Vehicle Strategy, Builds on $738 Billion Cleantech Proposal

Guest post by Yan Zhu

Cross-posted from LeadEnergy.org

Last Tuesday, China revealed its Clean Vehicle Investment Plan (2011-2020), which would invest over 100 billion RMB ($14.7 billion) in the development of electric and hybrid vehicles. The new investment is aimed to help China reach its annual production goal of 500,000 alternative technology vehicles by 2011.

Through China’s Energy Law and the coming 12th Five-Year Energy Development Plan, the nation has proven that it intends to lead on both the economic and renewable energy front. China has already surpassed the U.S. as the largest investor in clean energy in 2009. Bloomberg Businessweek also reported that China may spend about 5 trillion RMB ($738 billion) more in the next decade developing cleaner sources of energy. If the plan gets approved successfully by the State Council, some analysts predict an annual increase of 1.5 billion RMB ($220 million) in clean energy production value and the creation of 15 million jobs.

When China recently updated its Renewable Energy Law to include the 15-year Science and Technology Development Plan, it launched talent development programs across the nation and opened 16 new clean energy R&D centers. By taking such action, China sent out a stable signal to local governments as well as domestic and foreign companies, which will attract more private investment and further foster China’s clean energy cluster development. The Washington Post cited China’s foreign investment in the first six months of the year as having rose 19.6 percent to $51.4 billion, after a 14.3 percent increase in the first five months. China’s sustained investments have attracted the world’s biggest energy companies and venture capitalists. A few of the most prominent examples of this are:

  • Warren Buffett’s $232 million investment in BYD Co..

  • GE’s first wind power equipment assemble factory.

  • Goldman Sachs’ investment in local solar water heaters.

  • First Solar Inc. is about to build the world's biggest solar power project on 25 square miles of China's northern grasslands.

  • American Primafuel is planning to invest in biofuel soon.

  • China and Germany also signed a EUR124 million pact to encourage emissions reductions and energy saving by businesses.

  • Spanish Wind Power giant Gamesa announced to invest in a wind power engine manufacturing in China Jilin in mid-2011.

  • Denmark's Vestas Wind Systems plans to invest $350 million in its Tianjin, China-based subsidiary as it responds to growing demand in China for its turbines. The list continues.
China’s comprehensive technology-based investment strategy has been attracting private investment in a way that leads to clean energy cluster formation. Besides the Baoding, Jiangsu and Tianjin provinces described in the Breakthrough Institute and ITIF report “Rising Tigers and Sleeping Giants”, there are multiple other emerging clean energy clusters. Nanyang City in Henan Province is emerging as a new energy cluster for photovoltaics and bio-fuels, with an estimated vale of 100 billion RMB ($14.7 billion) by 2015 and Hanneng Shuangliu is another green-tech center with an estimated sales revenue of 70 billion RMB ($10.3 billion) from solar power, 20 billion ($2.94 billion) from nuclear power and 10 billion ($1.47 billion) from wind power by 2017. Shizuishan, originally as a big coal city, decided to switch to solar power industries and will reach 40 billion RMB ($5.88 billion) value of production by 2015 and 100 billion ($14.7 billion) by 2020. Not to mention Dezhou, “the biggest solar energy production base in the world.”

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