The International Renewable Energy Agency and the State Grid Corporation of China announced their intention last week to increase their cooperation with the intent to advance China’s energy transition.
The State Grid Corporation of China is the world’s largest utility, and China has already proven itself as the world leader in clean energy technology deployment, so it is no surprise that the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has partnered to enhance existing cooperation to further advance China’s energy transition under global and regional initiatives — including the Paris Climate Agreement and China’s own Belt and Road Initiative. More specifically, the framework of the agreement signed by the two entities provides for opportunities to collaborate on activities related to integrating higher shares of wind and solar capacity, better grid integration — a significant issue in China, which casts a pall over the massive capacity numbers they achieve each year — interconnection, and smart grids.
“As the world’s largest renewable energy market, China is at the forefront of renewable energy and it is State Grid that provides the electricity backbone for over 1 billion people,” explained IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “Providing more electricity — and more renewable electricity — than any other utility in the world, State Grid’s extensive experience with grid infrastructure and integrating renewable energy into power systems will help improve understanding of how we can bring larger shares of renewable power online. We look forward to working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable energy future both in China and around the world.”
“As the largest utility in the world, State Grid Corporation of China is dedicated to the interconnection of world power infrastructure to realize efficient, clean and sustainable development of global energy and contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative,” said State Grid Chairman Shu Yinbiao. “Based on the consensus of advancing the energy transition towards a low-carbon and green energy future, State Grid will implement extensive win-win cooperation with IRENA in terms of power grid technology, equipment and international standards.”
The framework also provides initiating technical in the context of IRENA’s Africa Clean Energy Corridor initiatives, and renewable energy capacity building activities throughout developing countries. Specifically, the Africa Clean Energy Corridor initiative “aims to transform the continent’s energy mix by promoting the development of clean, indigenous, cost-effective renewable power options.” Given the vital need for reliable electricity across Africa — and the lack of existing infrastructure, which means traditional fossil fuel-based energy generation technology is simply economically and logistically unviable — renewable energy stands as the number one means to solve energy poverty.
“Africa is endowed with abundant renewable and non-renewable energy resources,” said the authors of an IRENA report aimed at examining the electricity infrastructure of Eastern and Southern Africa. Two-thirds of these regions nevertheless still live without access to modern energy, “such as electricity and non-solid cooking fuels.”
Eliciting the support of more economically stable countries such as China to involve themselves in the development of developing countries will serve to enhance the speed at which these countries can acquire access to modern energy services, while also providing experience and economic benefits to those countries involving themselves.