China is leaving its competitors in its wake as all countries look to gain advantage in the emerging low-carbon economy, according to new analysis by Ottawa consultant Céline Bak. Over the past decade, Beijing has led a concerted effort to grab the lead in emerging environmental technologies, according to Ms. Bak, president of Ottawa-based Analytic Advisers.
“As the commitment to a greater investment in clean energy broadens globally, China will have an opportunity to continue to grow its manufacturing capacity,” she said. “While there will be competition, China is in a strong position to participate in future investment in climate mitigation and renewable energy sources.”
The management consultant – who advises governments and the private sector on clean-energy technology – examined China’s export performance over the past decade and created three technology groupings: water and waste water; renewable energy; and industrial processes. In each case, China saw stunning growth. Its sales of renewable energy technology grew to nearly $120-billion (U.S.) last year from just $20-billion in 2003. American exports in that renewable energy category grew to $45-billion from $25-billion.
China has been investing heavily in renewable energy in its domestic market. Last year, the country was the world’s largest investor in renewable power, with 21 per cent of the world’s total, and installed 50 per cent more solar photovoltaic projects than any country had ever installed.