A workshop of Jinko Solar Holding Co. Ltd., a world leader in solar module manufacturing, in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, on January 15 (WEI YAO)
The fast-growing renewable energy industry stimulates China's confidence in setting the timetable for peaking carbon emissions and reaching carbon neutrality, said Liu Hanyuan, Chairman of the Board of Tongwei Group, a global leading manufacturer of high-purity polycrystalline silicon and high-efficiency solar cells in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
According to Liu, an acceleration in the development of renewable energies, such as photovoltaic and wind power, proves one of the most effective ways to speed up the process of China becoming carbon neutral.
Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated at the General Debate of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly on September 22, 2020, that China aims to have carbon dioxide emissions peak before 2030 and reach carbon neutrality before 2060. This commitment demonstrates the country's determination to actively address climate change and pursue a green and low-carbon development, additionally raising the related requirements for Chinese businesses.
A growing market
"The target of peaking carbon emissions and realizing carbon neutrality will push society at large to accelerate the adjustment to and optimization of the industrial structure and energy mix, thus setting off a green revolution," said Song Xin, President of China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (CECEP), a large state-owned enterprise.
The further integration of energy supply and conservation will lead to a robust development of related services, as well as the need to explore a market worth 1 trillion yuan ($152.91 billion), according to Song. He believes that the traditional clean energy sector will usher in the best period for development, as market opportunities for maximizing the value of ecological products are gradually emerging. Moreover, the emerging energy saving service sector puts digital, electric and clean transformation on the fast track.
Chen Kangping, CEO of Jinko Solar Holding Co. Ltd., a world leader in solar module manufacturing in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, held that energy conservation and carbon reduction in the construction industry is fundamental to China's carbon goals.
With the formation of some 2 billion square meters of new buildings every year, carbon emissions in the construction industry currently account for more than one third of the country's total. According to Chen, the integration of photovoltaics into the building envelope, known as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), will provide the best solution for the creation of green buildings.
China must step up the formulation of BIPV-related standards covering the complete process of design, construction, inspection and acceptance, as well as establish a platform to promote the connection of the industries involved, Chen suggested.
"Optimizing the energy mix is essential for low-carbon development," said Nan Cunhui, Chairman of Chint Group, a leading industrial electrical equipment manufacturer and new energy company based in Zhejiang Province. The company is working on an energy supply and consumption model that can coordinate and optimize multiple systems and allow them to complement one another. This in turn will facilitate the transformation of energy consumption and the realization of the carbon neutrality target at an earlier date, according to Nan.
Chint has invested in the construction of photovoltaic power plants with a combined capacity of more than 6 gigawatts across the world, deeply integrating into the global new energy industrial chain. One of these projects is located in the Hobq Desert in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, with a capacity of 310 megawatts. After completion, this plant is slated to become the country's first desert sunlight project, helping harness 1,667 hectares of sandy land. The combined total of photovoltaic power plants constructed by Chint worldwide generate some 6.4 billion kWh of electricity per year, set to reduce carbon emissions by 6.47 million tons, a number equivalent to the planting of 3.6 million trees.
"Comprehensive energy services integrate businesses from multiple industries such as gas, power and heating. Relying on innovations in the fields of energy technology, Internet Plus and big data, they will forge a new trend of energy conservation and emission reduction," Song said. "This also presents CECEP with opportunities to promote its low-carbon solutions across various industries and regions, conduct climate-related funding and financing, and expand international cooperation."
According to Song, CECEP is working with top research institutions domestically and abroad to develop a comprehensive zero-carbon concept and business development model through the creation of fossil-free industrial parks and buildings.
As one of China's largest steel makers, Beijing Shougang Co. Ltd. has invested a total of 23.29 billion yuan ($3.56 billion) in environmental protection, accounting for 15.7 percent of its total investment. "At present, we can reduce carbon emissions by 3.09 million tons and conserve electricity by 3.5 billion kWh every year," said Liu Jianhui, General Manager of the company.
"Although the costs are increasing significantly, our achievements prove that the steel industry can also attain success in environmental protection," Liu continued.
"Low-carbon development and the shift to renewable energy have grown into a major trend in the fine-tuning of the global energy mix, an area in which China leads the way," said Nan. "Chinese businesses must revolutionize their ways of collaboration and strengthen their efforts to go global."
Liu said as the world's largest country in the manufacturing and application of renewable energy products, China must have its photovoltaic and wind power equipment, as well as the related investment, go global. This will significantly accelerate the energy transformation process in developed countries, additionally providing new growth tactics for developing economies. The new approaches will help the nations in the process of industrialization skip the beaten path of post-pollution treatment, and step right onto the course toward sustainable development.
"Peaking carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality will bode well for the nuclear power industry, but the task will not easily come to fruition," said Gu Jun, General Manager of China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC). "We must not only improve the safety of nuclear power, but also adapt its development to the overall trends of adjustment within the energy mix."
According to Gu, CNNC has technological cooperation and trade with more than 40 countries and regions to date, covering the entire nuclear industrial chain. Moreover, Hualong One technology, a China-developed third-generation reactor design, is entering the global market with increasing success.
"Expanding Belt and Road cooperation is not only a national initiative, but also a measure for our company to join the global campaign to address climate change. Through our efforts in the past three decades, seven Hualong One reactors are being built abroad," said Gu. "In the future, nuclear power will become vital to the construction of a space station for interstellar navigation and to the development of marine resources as well as the creation of a submarine space station. We are actively exploring and researching these arenas." BR
The author is a reporter with China Report magazine
(Print Edition Title: Taking on Responsibility)
Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon
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