Mainland takes lead in clean energy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 October, 2010, 12:00am

The use of renewable energy has intensified on the mainland, as more international investment has helped the industry flourish. A recent survey shows the mainland has succeeded the United States as the most attractive location in which to invest in such projects.

Energy professionals say the central government has devoted considerable effort to promote the use of clean and renewable energy on the mainland.

A list of countries in the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices, managed by big four accounting firm Ernst & Young, shows that the mainland entered the Country Attractiveness Indices table in December 2004, and has progressed steadily to the top of the All Renewables Index since then.

The US dropped two points behind the mainland as construction of new renewable energy facilities is expected to slow down, as the US government has not committed itself to financing new projects.

'China's steady rise has been underpinned by strong and consistent government support for renewable energy,' says Ringo Choi, Cleantech leader of Greater China at Ernst & Young. 'This, together with substantial commitment from industry and the sheer scale of its natural resources, means that its position for renewable energy investment is well-merited.'

Choi says that while the US remains highly attractive for investors, recent events have eased the momentum for the clean energy industry. 'The US market continues to have significant potential, but requires consistent legislative support to provide investors with the long-term confidence they need,' Choi says. Clean technology, including renewable energy, represents the technology and business model innovation that is driving the global transformation to a more resource efficient and low carbon economy, the consultant says. 'A successful outcome of this massive transformation requires collaboration among all stakeholders, including policy makers,' Choi says.

Mainland policy makers say they have made it a priority to promote the use of clean energy in the country. Chinese companies have played a leading role by almost halving the price of solar panels in the past couple of years. Backed by lavish government support, mainland energy companies are building plants to assemble their products in the US to bypass protectionist legislation. As Japanese automakers did decades ago, mainland solar firms are encouraging their US executives to join industry trade groups to reduce antiforeign sentiment.