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China is taking the lead in global clean energy, says IEA director

Speaking on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Fatih Birol, executive director of the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), said that China is taking global leadership in the clean energy sphere.

In an exclusive interview with Chinese news agency Xinhua, Birol said: “On the supply side, China is – and will remain – the largest global investor into all of the four main clean energy sources: wind, solar, nuclear and hydro.”

Birol noted that the global transition globally is the “parallel increase in the importance of electricity and renewable.”

He added that the Chinese energy system is “undergoing an impressive transformation”, applauding China’s leadership in many clean energy areas in the world.

“It is encouraging to see that in recent years we have witnessed the acceleration of energy research and development in China, putting the country into a leading position in key technologies such as solar, battery storage or direct current transmission,” he said.

Driving clean energy

The interview highlighted that the most promising new policy initiative in the world today is the introduction of carbon pricing in China.

“This will create an efficient market based incentive for clean energy. We agree with the Chinese approach that carbon markets should complement rather than substitute for technology specific policies,” Birol said.

Also, robust and smart electricity infrastructure is a key priority in the sustainable transition. This can enable new renewable production and new electric cars, both key components of the transition.

“China plays a leading role in these areas, representing two-thirds of all global investment in electric car charging infrastructure,” he said. Read more…

“I would like to highlight the growing and positive role that China plays in providing energy access in poor countries: around one-third of the growth of electricity supply across Africa comes from Chinese investment,” Birol said.


Featured image: Stock

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.