As the share of renewable energy in most Central and Eastern European countries is still significantly lower than the European Union’s 2030 target, insiders see massive potential for Chinese clean energy companies in the region.
Joseph Jacobelli, a senior analyst of Asian utilities at Bloomberg, said the region offers tremendous opportunities for Chinese clean energy companies especially in solar, wind and nuclear power.
“These European markets are still developing their wind, solar, and other zero-carbon sources, providing attractive growth markets for Chinese operators,” he said. “It’s likely that China clean energy cooperation will expand in the coming years as Chinese developers seek larger footprints abroad.”
Chinese companies including clean power producer GCL New Energy Holdings Ltd, China General Nuclear Power Corp, China Longyuan Power and China Three Gorges Corp might find substantial opportunities in the region in the future, Jacobelli said.
“We believe that China’s ability in cost control, in terms of unit production cost, will continue providing the companies with an advantage if bidding for projects, and Chinese investors might favor larger markets ahead of smaller ones,” he said.
Xu Xiaodong, deputy head of the China Electric Power Planning & Engineering Institute, echoed this sentiment, saying the terminal electricity prices in the region remain relatively high, and the development of renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic and wind power offer competitive alternatives.
“China and Central and Eastern European countries play complementary roles to each other with massive potential for cooperation in the clean energy sector, including renewable energy power generation, smart grid technology, advanced nuclear power technology, clean use of fossil fuel and smart energy,” he said.
“As China is shifting toward a cleaner energy mix with its share of non-fossil fuel and natural gas increasing and the proportion of coal declining, it is looking at a series of advanced clean energy technologies, including clean coal power generation and AC/DC transmission technology.”
The National Energy Administration in June invited officials and enterprise representatives from the energy sectors of Central and Eastern European countries to attend exchanges, seminars and study tours to increase their understanding of China’s energy technologies, equipment, standards and services.
“China is willing to share with the Central and Eastern European countries, whose energy consumption is still dominated by oil and gas and is largely dependent on imports,” Xu said.
According to the institute, Central and Eastern Europe is a net importer of energy, with total energy consumption of 290 million metric tons of standard oil and total energy production of 190 million tons of standard oil.
Hydropower is the major renewable energy in the region. Countries with abundant hydropower resources - including Croatia, Romania, Albania, Lithuania and Latvia - possess a higher share of renewable energy power generation.
The northern part of the region, including the Baltic countries and Poland, is rich in wind energy resources and has great potential for wind power. Central Europe and Southeast Europe have abundant solar energy resources, which is good for the development of distributed photovoltaics and low-speed wind power, the institute said.
Xu suggests the two sides should focus on energy policy synergy, cooperation planning and research, technical exchanges, mutual acceptance of standards, and personnel training in the near future.
The two sides should also enhance cooperation on project investment, joint ventures and capacity cooperation on energy equipment manufacturing, he said.