China’s future low carbon leaders learn from energy industry experts

Reading time: 4 minutes
26 May 2015

BEIJING: The Future Academy, The Climate Group’s program to train low carbon leaders of the future, held a workshop with China's top energy industry experts to brief the young entrepreneurs on the country's fast-growing clean energy markets.

Future Academy's 2015 term started last month, and includes participation from some of China’s biggest companies, Trina Solar, Elion Group, Xin Ao Concrete Group, Tianjin Lishen Battery, Huiyuan Group and Ciming Checkup, who act as official ‘case studies’ for the students. 

As part of the new 2015 term, a one-day workshop was held at Tsinghua University chaired by Dr. Kejun Jiang, the Energy Research Institute of the NDRC, with four other energy industry experts and more than 80 candidates from both the Tsinghua MBA program and Future Academy.

Dr. Jiang kicked-off the workshop by giving an overview of the Chinese government’s Energy Development Strategy Action Plan, which covers from now until 2020 and is central to China’s “ecological progress” plan. The Action Plan sets a clear goal that by 2020, coal consumption will dip to 4.2 billion tons and energy self-sufficiency will reach an impressive 85%.

Explaining how these environmental goals are helping pave the way for huge clean energy growth in China, Dr. Jiang said: “PM 2.5 [particulate matter – partly hazardous solid and gas particles which are in the air] has now reached unhealthy levels, which is increasing serious public concerns. But China’s notorious air pollution has also triggered a clean energy revolution. The government has recently revealed a multi-pronged air-pollution battle plan, including this Action Plan, which emphasizes controlling excessive growth of energy consumption and improving energy efficiency. This means further tightening the constraints of high energy-consuming industries, and those with excess capacity of total energy consumption”.


In order to achieve China’s energy conservation goals, part of the plan focuses on upgrading energy-efficiency in the energy, construction and transportation industries. Dr. Jiang talked the students through high energy-consuming sectors in China, such as steel, cement and glass, and anticipated that the various industries are set to reach peak energy consumption in 2015.

Reaching this imminent target will ensure China’s greenhouse gas output will peak around 2030 and also boost the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20% by 2030. For example, part of China’s emission reduction plan includes the promotion of electric vehicles, and China has set a target of around 300,000 new energy vehicles to be used in public transportation and logistics by 2020.

Two panel discussions followed Dr. Jiang’s presentation, which were focused on China’s energy landscape, and how clean energy investment could rise under the country’s low carbon strategy.

In particular, the speakers focused on China's vast wind industry. The government’s Wind Energy Roadmap shows China has become the world’s largest wind market, which is forecast to reach 200 gigawatts (GW) by 2020, 400 GW by 2030 and 1,000 GW of power by 2050. This growth would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 gigatons per year.

Also speaking at the workshop, Qin Haiyan, Director of China General Certification Center, warned there is a clear pathway that must be taken for the country’s clean energy markets to reach their full potential: “China is entering a renewable energy era and embracing this energy revolution. However, three major challenges need to be conquered; upgrading energy-efficiency, reshaping electric power systems and mechanisms, actively developing hydropower, developing wind power and accelerating the development of solar power. ”


Agreeing that China’s clean energy development is a high priority for the next year, Chairman of the government-owned State Grid Corporation of China, Liu Zhenya – who proposed a worldwide, high-voltage energy transmission network last year – explained that the government’s ‘Internet of Energy’ concept in particular is “an ambitious plan for implementing a renewable energy revolution”.

The Internet of Energy is a term coined at last October’s Future Academy workshop by Dr. Jeremy Rifkin, to describe how cloud computing and big data technologies will modernize electricity.

Dr Rifkin explained: “The power grid will become distributed and shareable, hence becoming the same as the Internet. Internet of Energy is a metaphor. It actually means that energy sources will transform from the traditional centralized fossil fuels and uranium generation to distributed new sources of renewable power.”

Across China’s clean energy markets though, it is solar power that is shining through as the biggest investment opportunity.


According to National Energy Administration’s figures, China's installed solar capacity approached 30 GW in 2014, bringing total PV capacity connected to the state grid to over 28 GW. Total electricity generated by PV showed rapid growth in 2014, to hit 25 billion kWh, an increase of more than 200% over 2013's total.

Driven by this rising market as well as favorable policies, China’s state-owned banks such as China Development Bank have now started providing credit for new solar PV projects. Venture capital players and insurance funds are also eyeing investment opportunities.

At the workshop, Peng Libin of Beijing Jun Yang Investment Company outlined how the solar PV market is expected to improve further this year, with an estimated growth rate of more than 10% compared to 2014.

Early this year, Trina Solar, the first 'company case' of 2015 Future Academy, partnered with Ping An Trust and Jiuzhou Investment to develop up to 1 GW of PV power plant projects in China over three years. As a pioneer of China's PV industry, Trina Solar has become an influential leader in the global solar markets, which makes it the ideal case study for The Climate Group's Future Academy this year.

Read more about Future Academy or visit and join our new Future Academy LinkedIn group


By Jing Wang



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