Supporting renewable energy development through international synergies: obstacles and opportunities in the Chinese context

Supporting renewable energy development through international synergies: obstacles and opportunities in the Chinese context

Steven Geroe

Lecturer in Law, La Trobe University, Australia

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This paper examines opportunities and obstacles to Chinese and international renewable energy development through international synergies. Firstly, international involvement in the consultative drafting process of Chinese renewable energy regulation is considered, based on interviews in Chinese institutions involved in this process. This evidence establishes that widespread institutional synergies have been established between Chinese and international renewable energy institutions, forming the basis for cooperation in regulatory development, technological research and development and joint renewable energy projects. The research interviews are then situated in the context of recent scholarly research on international investment synergies in China, focusing on licensing agreements, joint development, and mergers and acquisitions, in ‘learning hubs’ of concentrated renewable energy research and development and large-scale commercialisation. Obstacles are considered primarily in terms of non-tariff barriers and government procurement policies and practice. These measures have been a significant factor in China achieving its stated objective of substantial self-reliance in renewable energy production. While there is widespread and continuing evidence of international institutional and investment synergies, this has not impeded the Chinese government’s planned dominance of the domestic market by Chinese firms. Nonetheless, innovative technology is needed to advance China’s strategy of low- carbon economic modernisation, such as smart grids, offshore wind and advanced thin film materials. While these may currently be specialised or niche areas, the scale of Chinese low-carbon development presents substantial investment opportunities. The evidence presented in this paper of synergies between Chinese and international renewable energy institutions, and of investment synergies in international learning hubs in China, indicates that there is a functional basis for foreign invested enterprises to participate in these opportunities.


barrier, Chinese, institutions, investment, opportunity, regulatory development, renewable energy, synergy, trade


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