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China’s Increasing Presence in European Electricity Sector

Le Figaro, a French daily newspaper, recently carried an article on China’s increasing influence over the European electric power supply network. The article quoted from the World Energy Markets Observatory (WEMO) report of 2018, that Capgemini, a French consulting firm headquartered in Paris, had published. China, according to the report, is “the world’s second largest consumer of energy, the leading emitter of Greenhouse Gases (GHG), a significant energy equipment supplier, and a key player in critical resources. It has also become an important investor in electric companies.”

The report pointed out that a key strategy of Chinese expansion in Europe is to increase its control or influence over the continent’s electric power supply network. Chinese investment has already gained access to the electric sectors of Portugal, Italy, Greece, Malta, and the United Kingdom. It was due to the opposition of the German government that China did not have success in Germany. For energy experts, the control of the power supply network is of great strategic importance. Moreover, China is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels, and is in a leading position in the field of wind energy. The Chinese government is currently investing in large-scale research and development of electricity storage and aims to export Chinese-made batteries to the world in the near future.

However, the problem is that in the process of producing the above-mentioned green energy products, Chinese companies will emit a large amount of greenhouse gases. In addition, China also exports a large number of its own thermal power plants. In addition, the Chinese government will obviously be unable to achieve its goal of CO2 reduction, which is the total coal-fired power generation of less than 1,100 gigawatts, by 2020.

Source: Radio France International, November 6, 2018