Consulting has published a good overview of China's new energy
industry, looking at the strengths and weaknesses of different sectors.
The firm argues that China's photovoltaic sector is “not yet a
complete industry” because it has to import polycrystal silicon
to make the panels and the supply of this crucial raw material is
monopolised by foreign firms.
That's good business for the foreign suppliers, of course. But
knowing how China likes to keep control of strategic technologies and
industries, one can see that as a handicap to the development of the PV
CCID is more upbeat on prospects for China's wind power industry
which is entering a “new stage of accelerating growth”. China's wind
electricity market has been developing fast. In 2006, some 80 wind
power stations were built in China, with a total installed generating
capacity of some 2.3GW, an 80% increase over the previous year.
According to China's long-term development plan for renewables, the
wind power target for 2020 is 20GW. To get there, installed generating
capacity will have to increase by around 1.9GW each year, so there is
plenty of business to go for. The question, of course — and one that
applies to other “strategic sectors” — is how much of that business
China is going to allow to remain in western hands.
Currently, wind power in China is mainly concentrated in Xinjiang,
Inner Mongolia and Guangdong. Despite significant improvements in its
home-grown technology and R&D, China's wind power industry is
The wind-power generator and components sector is rather dispersed
and has yet to attain a certain size. That means that China's wind
power industry is likely to continue to need foreign know-how,
technology and capital. But for how long?
The CCID report also looks at other renewable energy technologies,
including solar heating panels and small hydro power generation.