China-Africa en­ergy ties ‘promis­ing’

Tech­nol­ogy, fi­nan­cial sup­port to de­liver clean power so­lu­tions

China Daily European Weekly - - Cover Story - By ZHENG XIN [email protected]­

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.

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