China-Africa energy ties ‘promising’
Technology, financial support to deliver clean power solutions
Cooperation between China and Africa in the energy sector has seen remarkable progress in recent years, especially in the field of renewable energy.
While China has been expanding its oil and mineral-resource development cooperation with Africa, analysts see massive opportunities arising for the development and construction of renewable energy resources in Africa. Many countries on the continent, which has abundant solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric energy resources, are seeking to use more new energy resources.
China is a world leader with regard to renewable energy resources, and its mature renewable energy technology and strong financial support will deliver more clean energy for Africans, says Joseph Jacobelli, a senior analyst of Asian utilities and infrastructure at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong.
Jacobelli cites China Longyuan Power, which secured two large wind power generation investments in South Africa in 2015: the 100.5 megawatt De Aar Phase I and the 144-MW De Aar Phase II projects.
“The developer is likely to seek further investments in Africa as well as elsewhere as part of its overseas ambitions,” he says.
“The project is an example of Chinese power companies deploying their know-how as well as their balance sheets in developing projects abroad, something that is becoming a long-term trend.”
Han Xiaoping, chief information officer of China Energy Net Consulting, says new energy cooperation between China and Africa is promising, and China’s know-how in the renewable sector is welcomed in Africa due to its low costs.
China’s advanced technology in distributed photovoltaic power grid technology, for example, could well provide power on the continent at affordable prices, he says.
As energy cooperation between China and Africa steps up, China’s advanced technology in the renewables sector is more pragmatic in Africa, and there is much more potential for cooperation in the future, he adds.
Han says China has promised to continue to help African countries improve their ability to deal with climate change, which in turn creates challenges and opportunities for Chinese enterprises investing in construction of new energy projects in Africa.
The China-Africa Renewable Energy Cooperation and Innovation Alliance, which was established in Beijing last year, aims to help establish power supplies and transmission systems in Africa through public-private partnership projects.
Ding Yuxian of the China IndustryUniversity-Research Institute Collaboration Association says the wider application of Chinese standards in Africa will boost renewable energy in both places.
Simon Pierre Adovelande, Benin’s ambassador to China, says, “We need to combine resources and investment, and the alliance is a good platform for that.”
Han adds that China should strengthen project inspection and assessment to mitigate the risks associated with cooperation.
Chinese companies should think carefully about potential investment risks and should establish a security mechanism associated with energy sector development on the continent to reduce enterprise risks, he says.
The first China-invested wind power project in Africa is launched in De Aar, South Africa, in November.