Chinese-German cooperation on new energy runs deep

Updated: 2014-03-30 07:36

By Du Juan(China Daily)

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Experts say Chinese can learn from their German counterparts about renewable power production, development and on-grid pricing systems to accelerate the country's clean energy industry and strengthen the cooperation between the two nations.

Based on a long history of cooperation in the new energy industry between the two nations, China has accumulated experience and boosted technologies in both solar and wind power generation in past years.

Tao Guangyuan, executive director of the Sino-German Renewable Energy Center, which was jointly established by the German Energy Agency and China Renewable Energy Industry Association, said on Thursday in Beijing that China should develop long-distance and high-voltage electricity transmission lines on a large scale to boost wind power and photovoltaic solar power generation.

"Because of the instability of solar and wind electricity, much energy is wasted during transmission," he said during a clean-energy forum.

At present, wind electricity generation accounts for nearly 10 percent of Germany's total power output. The figure has the potential to grow to about 20 percent in future.

"In terms of electricity distribution, China needs to make increasing efforts on planning and research," Tao said.

Germany decided to spend half a century to launch a renewable energy era beginning in 2000. The German government aims to eliminate 40 percent of the country's carbon emission by 2020 compared with the 1990 level. The target is to cut the 1990 figure by up to 80 percent by 2050.

Meanwhile, Berlin is determined to preserve its electricity consumption and raise the percentage of renewable energy among its power sources.

By the year 2020, renewable power generation is expected to account for 35 percent of the country's total figure and it will increase to 80 percent in 2050.

China has also committed to reduce carbon emission per unit of GDP - by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020 compared with the 2005 level. To achieve that target, the Chinese government has been shutting down coal-fired power plants, accelerating the photovoltaic solar power and wind power industry and raising the natural gas consumption in its primary energy mix.

Thanks to the government's encouraging policies, many Chinese new-energy companies have achieved success and even expanded markets overseas.

TrinaSolar Ltd, one of the major solar companies in China, has shared technology with German partners and sold its solar panels in Germany, reflecting the Chinese company's capability in the international new-energy market.

"Our long-term partnerships in the German market have been key to establishing TrinaSolar as a trusted brand for residential system installers," said Ben Hill, president of TrinaSolar Europe.

The company has been collaborating with German industry partners in the residential and commercial rooftop sectors, as well as some developers of solar farms, since it established a local office in Munich in 2009.

He said Germany accounted for 10.4 percent of the company's global sales revenue in 2013.

"Given the maturity and experience in the German solar market, many of Trina-Solar's best German partners have expanded abroad, bringing their expertise and partnerships with TrinaSolar along with them to the growing markets of Africa and Latin America," he said.

The company is a member of Watt 2.0, the German association for Renewable Energy, Environment and Sustainability.

So far, its biggest solar-panel installation project in Germany was the solar farm Eggebek with 83 megawatts.

Looking into the future, China and Germany will strengthen their cooperation in various ways.

The Chinese National Energy Conservation Center and the German Energy Agency signed the memorandum of understanding in Berlin in February, to exchange ideas and information and jointly develop energy-saving strategies at national and municipal levels.

It also calls for developing skills, and the implementation of Chinese-German cooperation projects.

(China Daily 03/30/2014 page3)