As China’s appetite for energy increases, so does its desire for sources that will alleviate a traditional reliance on foreign oil. Vanessa Ip reports on the quest for alternative energies
The world’s largest energy consumer’s reliance on foreign oil resources continues to increase at a rapid pace, prompting an acceleration in its global quest for sustainable, reliable and affordable energy. In 2016, it is predicted that China’s energy consumption will increase alongside higher demand for non-fossil fuels.
“In comparison to the traditional energy sector, Chinese capital has clearly shown much greater interest in renewable energy assets globally,” says Xiong Jin, an international partner at King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) in Beijing. “They are looking for good assets in major jurisdictions such as Australia, Europe, North America and South America. The recent acquisition by State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) of Pacific Hydro is a telling case. These Chinese investors are looking for new growth opportunities overseas.”
China is the world’s largest investor in clean energy. But Leslie Zhang, an experienced corporate counsel, believes that despite major strides in renewable energy development and investment, Chinese state-owned oil companies have reduced outbound investment in the clean arena due, in part, to low oil prices and the central government’s tightening supervisions on state-owned enterprises.