World / Europe

China-Britain energy cooperation sets model for global climate battle

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-27 13:39

China-Britain energy cooperation sets model for global climate battle

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L, back) and British Prime Minister David Cameron (R, back) attend a signing ceremony of bilateral cooperation documents after their talks at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, Oct 21, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua] 

BEIJING - In about 10 years, 6 million British homes will be powered with electricity from Hinkley Point C, the first nuclear power station to be built on British soil in more than two decades.

The infrastructure mega-project, in which a Chinese consortium holds a 33.5-percent stake under a deal signed in London at the presence of visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister David Cameron, epitomizes the close cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector.

And the latest example of the ever deepening and diversified China-Britain energy cooperation, which features an increasing share of clean power resources, also gives body to their shared resolve to combat the common threat of climate change.


Located in southwestern England with an estimated construction cost of 18 billion pounds (some 28 billion U.S. dollars), Hinkley Point C is now expected to start operating in 2025 with a 3.3-gigawatt total capacity, larger than the output of any existing single plant in Britain.

Xi hailed the enterprise as a flagship project of China-Britain cooperation, while Cameron called the investment deal "historic." It marks the first time for Chinese companies to participate in civil nuclear projects in Europe.

Both countries stand to benefit from the deal. For China, it unlocks the potential for Chinese firms to play a bigger role in Britain's energy market and for China to export its nuclear technologies and equipment to other parts of the world. For Britain, it heralds a rejuvenation of the country's aging nuclear power system with Chinese investment -- and more jobs.

Vincent de Rivaz, CEO of EDF Energy, the British affiliation to French power giant EDF and the senior partner in the Hinkley Point C project, noted that the deal marks the "biggest inward investment in British history" with the creation of up to 25,000 jobs during the plant's construction.

"I accept that not everyone is persuaded that it is a good thing," he said, while stressing that he is convinced the project "is an industrial opportunity with benefits reaching far beyond a single nuclear power station in Somerset."

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