After five years of collaboration, the Sino-Danish Renewable Energy Development Program has been reviewed confirming that it has been a success for both sides.
Jørgen Delman, Professor of China Studies, Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen,
What was it about?
With two distinct components, the RED Program was designed to assist China in achieving its goals for reduction of CO2 through accelerated development and deployment of RE. Component 1 supported the establishment of China National Renewable Energy Centre (CNREC) under the National Energy Administration (NEA) in Beijing to address the whys and hows of the green transition of China’s energy system by undertaking policy research and working with policy making at central level in China. Component 2 of the Program aimed to establish Danish-Chinese institutional and business partnerships to pursue further development of RE technologies in China.
CNREC – a new player in policy research
The policy research conducted by CNREC, much of it with Danish participation, has provided critical policy inputs at both central and local levels in China. The projects comprise: scenario modelling and analysis, surveys of international experiences in support of NEA and other government departments, studies of policy instruments, support to local energy planning; sector strategies and road maps for solar, wind and biomass based on technology catalogues; other RE sectors have also been dealt with; support to and/or management of demonstration projects; information services; and finally services to and management of international cooperation with multilateral and bilateral agencies on behalf of NEA.
The Danish role
CNREC has already become a visible and highly recognised national and international player, the latter through collaboration with IEA, IRENA and a number of bilateral agencies. The Danish assistance to CNREC, which has been provided by on-site experts and by the Danish Energy Agency through a partnership agreement funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has won respect with the counterparts in the Chinese energy administration and it has been praised by China’s top leaders.
Danish authorities and other stakeholders have been able to demonstrate the 'Danish energy model’ as well as Danish solutions and technologies within RE, especially wind and biomass. The Danish system for integration of RE into the energy portfolio and the power market is seen as an experience to learn from in China and Denmark is regarded as a world class inspiration for RE development and deployment. The Chinese stakeholders also mention the Danish effort to support China’s participation in international RE organisations, platforms and networks as an important contribution.
The recipe for success
The success of the RED program was made possible due to the commitment and qualifications of the partners as well as the ability of the program to generate the interest and support of top level political decision makers in both countries. There has also been an enabling environment in China that has been conducive for CNREC to pursue its mission. Finally, the Danish Embassy in Beijing has played an important role in supporting program implementation.
The Danish input to CNREC and the current status and profile of the centre have opened venues for more international collaboration. CNREC has secured new international funding for the next five years and the Chinese authorities and the new funding organisation, CIFF, have asked for the continued presence of Danish experts in the Centre. The future involvement of the Danish Energy Agency has also been secured and its activities are closely aligned with CNREC’s plans. These developments have not only made CNREC financially sustainable, but they also provide the necessary room for continued development of the organisation, its staff and its capacity to undertake policy research as well as for provision of its various services. Seen from the Danish perspective, CNREC has become a stable platform for closer Sino-Danish collaboration.
Other recommendations for the Danish side
The Sino-Danish collaborative platform is ready to engage even more stakeholders from the public and the private sector. Until now, CNREC has not been able to focus on the role of the business side and it needs to find out how it can benefit from collaboration with Chinese and international companies. It would be meaningful to establish a CNREC Executive Forum for Renewable Energy as a platform for such collaboration. With regard to the Danish stake in this, the Danish Energy Agency, the Danish Trade Council and the Danish Chamber of Commerce in China could assist in organising the participation of relevant Danish companies who could also provide sponsorships for specific activities.
The relevant MOU’s signed between Danish and Chinese ministries provide room for promotion of more collaboration in new fields, e.g. in RE demonstration projects pursued by CNREC. DEA and CNREC could also organise workshops with the involvement of Danish city and business stakeholders for Chinese partner cities to discuss their approach to pro-RE energy planning and possibly establish joint projects. The Danish network for cities and regions working with China under the Danish Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Affairs could be a partner in this. The Danish “State of Green” could also use CNREC as a platform for promoting Danish technologies, expertise and solutions in relation to RE development and deployment in China.
In short, this has been a worthwhile investment for both sides and it will continue to be a productive platform for joint collaboration within RE development and deployment.
Professor Jørgen Delman conducted the final technical review of the RED Program on behalf of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Embassy in Beijing.
Read more about the review in the attached report in the right hand margin.
Center for Global Rådgivning og Forhandling
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Søren Mensal Kristensen
Center for Global Rådgivning og Forhandling