May 24, 2024

The IEA, the Administrative Centre for China’s Agenda 21 (ACCA21), and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MOST) co-organised a workshop behind closed doors on the 27th April 2021 in order to provide input into the ongoing IEA analyses on innovation within the Clean Energy Transitions Programme. Discussions were held with Chinese government officials, academics, and energy innovation and tech experts from local institutions.

The workshop was designed to:

  1. Develop a common understanding of China’s energy innovation, with an emphasis on the potential of the 14th Five-Year Plan;
  2. Examine the role of energy innovation in achieving carbon neutrality, with an emphasis on areas of technology of high priority in China.
  3. Explore ways to deepen international collaboration in order to advance China’s national goals and global objectives. Chinese experts presented their perspectives on the basis of their sectoral expertise and the latest updates relating to the 14th Five-Year Plan.

The workshop included a session of case studies on technologies for carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), which provided the latest findings from IEA and ACCA21’s collaborative analysis and information on possible new projects in the coming years.

Speakers and participants were invited from ACCA21, China Academy of Building Research, China Academy of Science, China Automobile Technology and Research Centre (China Coal Research Institute), China Energy Engineering Corporation (China Electric Power Planning & Engineering Institute), China National Renewable Energy Centre (China Nuclear Energy Association), MOST and Tsinghua University.

The IEA World Energy Outlook 2009 highlighted the importance of investing in the energy sector to not only meet the new demand but also to offset the decline rates of current production. Massive amounts of investment are also needed to develop new technologies for energy to meet climate change goals. Extreme price volatility, uncertainty over future government policies, especially with regard to climate change, and, most recently, the global financial crises have all raised concerns about the lack of investment. Companies are scared to invest because rules and prices change constantly. “Since the private sector has historically accounted for the majority of energy investment, it is important for governments to know what type of stable long-term policy frameworks they need to encourage investment in sustainable energy infrastructure.” said Dr. Birol. It is especially important now when governments are launching stimulus programs to stimulate economic growth and just before nations gather in Copenhagen to create a new climate accord.

The next step will be the IEA Ministerial meeting in October.

Next, the EBC will meet in Paris just before the biannual IEA ministerial meeting. The members will be asked to present the results of the discussions they had with the Ministers and to suggest new projects and collaborations. The time has come for a high-level dialogue between government and industry on energy. “The IEA is delighted to host this dialog,” concluded Mr. Tanaka.

  • Transport
  • Solar
  • Bioenergy
  • Other Renewables
  • Energy efficiency
  • Energy storage
  • Hydrogen
  • fuel cells

While transport deals have driven the growth of energy VC in recent years, non-transport transactions now account for more than half the value of sales in 2019. It is too early to tell if this indicates a rebalancing of sectors following a recent flurry around electric vehicles. Some of the biggest recipients of early-stage VC funding for 2019 are Hozon AutomobileEnovate motors – both Chinese developers of high-performance electric cars – Commonwealth Fusion – a designer of a nuclear fusion system with a lower cost; CalBio – producers of biogas digesters – and Faraday Grid – an inventor of innovative power grid transformers.

These numbers reveal two distinct trends that are a reflection of a sector in flux.

The growing value of deals is a result of fewer but larger transactions. The number of VC investments in energy start-ups has not increased. Even after excluding all sales exceeding USD 50 million, average deal sizes in the first six months of 2019 were higher than any other year since 2012.


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