China grows in­creas­ingly in­no­va­tive in energy tech: re­port

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By HUA SHENGDUN in Washington

China’s in­vest­ment in energy re­search and de­vel­op­ment has grown ex­po­nen­tially, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent In­ter­na­tional Energy Agency (IEA) re­port.

“If these trends con­tinue, we can see China as the in­no­va­tion leader world­wide,” said Jean-François Gagné, head of the energy tech­nol­ogy pol­icy di­vi­sion at the IEA.

The re­port,

En­erg y Tech­nol­ogy Per­spec­tives 2015, eval­u­ates the role of tech­nol­ogy in a long-term energy tran­si­tion. China was stud­ied as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive emerg­ing econ­omy that could con­trib­ute greatly to fos­ter­ing the low-car­bon tran­si­tion through in­no­va­tion in tech­nolo­gies and poli­cies.

“About 70 per­cent of the re­duc­tions in our sce­nar­ios come from non-OECD coun­tries,” Gagné said, quot­ing the re­port.

“China

does

see

that in­no­va­tion can help them meet the nexus of eco­nomic growth, energy se­cu­rity and cli­mate ob­jec­tives,” Gagné said at the Cen­ter for Strate­gic & In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies in Washington on July 10.

The re­cent adop­tion of more strin­gent air pol­lu­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies in China, along with mea­sures to im­prove coal qual­ity and the ef­fi­ciency of coal-fired elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion are ex­am­ples of clean energy in­no­va­tion in­cen­tives in the rapidly de­vel­op­ing coun­try.

Jen­nifer Turner, di­rec­tor of the China En­vi­ron­ment Fo­rum at the Wil­son Cen­ter in Washington, says she has seen strong po­lit­i­cal will to push for­ward for clean energy. China has been the lead­ing in­vestor in clean energy tech­nol­ogy, and Turner be­lieves air pol­lu­tion has been a ma­jor driver.

Wang Tao, res­i­dent scholar in the Energy and Cli­mate Pro­gram at the Carnegie-Ts­inghua Cen­ter for Global Pol­icy, agrees that there is al­ready ma­jor po­lit­i­cal sup­port for in­no­va­tive energy tech­nol­ogy.

The main chal­lenge now, Wang points out, is in mak­ing it eco­nom­i­cally vi­able.

Gagné also said that the re­port shows a fu­ture for China that does not need to com­pro­mise eco­nomic growth while de­vel­op­ing sus­tain­able energy tech­nol­ogy, and in­no­va­tion lies at the cen­ter of that.

“Our re­port has iden­ti­fied sev­eral ar­eas where China both has great po­ten­tial in in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy, but has rec­og­nized that po­ten­tial and is work­ing very ac­tively,” Gagné told China Daily.

That is shown in a wide range of ar­eas, in­clud­ing so­lar and wind energy, car­bon cap­ture and stor­age, as well as in­fra­struc­ture as­pects like high­ef­fi­ciency trans­mis­sion grids. Liu Jingyang in Washington con­trib­uted to this story.

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