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China takes the lead from Europe in renewable energies

The decision on renewable energies in electricity production is not only ecological but above all, an intelligent economic decision.

Devdiscourse News Desk 31 Mar 2018, 12:19 PM China, Germany
  • China invested USD 133 billion in renewable energy last year, as never before. (Image credit: Pixabay)

The development of renewable energies advances worldwide. Above all, solar and wind energy is experiencing a boom and are in a position to compete with fossil fuels.

According to data from the International Agency for Renewable Energy (IRENA), its costs will continue to fall: those of photovoltaic energy up to 50 percent approximately on a global average in the next 3 years, as per Semana.

"This new dynamic indicates a significant change in the energy system," said Adnan Amin, Director-General of IRENA, at the presentation of the current report on cost dynamics in Abu Dhabi. He further added, the decision on renewable energies in electricity production is not only ecological but above all, an intelligent economic decision.

China assumes Europe's leadership in renewable energies

China advances by leaps and bounds in the technologies of the future and develops solar and wind energy like no other country on the globe. "China takes this leadership since it recognizes the enormous possibilities of the market and the economic advantages", affirms the economist specialized in energy Claudia Kemfert, German Institute for the Economic Investigation (DIW), that as well Advises the German government from the Advisory Council on the Environment.

According to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China invested USD 133 billion in renewable energy last year, as never before. More than half of it in solar energy. According to the National Energy Administration of China (NEA), in 2017 have installed photovoltaic power plants with a capacity of 53 gigawatts in the country, more than half of the world capacity.

With its policy of growth, China has clearly replaced Germany and Europe today as a leader in renewable energy. European investments have also been constantly reduced since 2011 and, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, between 2011 and 2017 they have dropped to less than half, to USD 57 billion.

"The EU had a clear leadership role until 2011. Due to its own political failures, it has delivered it", says Hans-Josef Fell, President of Energy Watch Group.     

Can Europe regain ground? 

"I want Europe to be a leader in the fight against climate change," said the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, last year and clearly endorsed the Paris Agreement on climate change. The European Parliament, the European Commission and the Member States are currently intensely discussing the necessary measures in the framework of an extensive package of laws under the title: "Clean energy for all Europeans". 

The proposal of the European Commission provides, among other issues, that the share of renewable energy in relation to total energy consumption amounts to 27 percent in 2030. According to current Eurostat data, it stood at 17 percent in 2016.

Last week, the European Parliament voted to raise the share of renewable energy to at least 35 percent.

Decisive for the future of renewables in Europe is, according to experts' estimation, the existence above all of a dynamic internal market. "Europe and in particular Germany have lost technological leadership in photovoltaics," says Matthias Buck, EU energy expert at think tank Agora Energiewende, whereas in Europe wind energy is ahead and in offshore wind energy some companies are even leaders in the global market.   

According to Semana, Europe could recover its leadership in technology with the global modification of energy systems. But for that, it would be necessary to adapt the framework conditions in such a way that renewable energies are not harmed in their growth, the sector could live a boom if it is not slowed down.

A dynamic expansion of renewables in Europe as in previous years would only be possible, experts say, with the abolition of old technologies.

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