China has become the top investor in renewable energy in the world, experts said Tuesday at the ongoing forum for decentralized sustainable energy solutions in China.
Dr. Eric Martinot, a senior research fellow with the US-based Worldwatch Institute and senior visiting scholar of Tsinghua University, said that excluding large hydropower, China invested US$6 billion in renewable energy in 2005 out of a global total investment of US$38 billion.
Soaring oil prices have made renewable energy a focus for world investors, said Martinot.
Government support for renewable energy was US$10 billion in 2004 for the United States and Europe, including budget fund and policy support. The United States and Europe provide more than US$700 million per year for research and development, said Martinot.
Moreover, large commercial banks are starting to notice renewable energy and several are adding renewable energy investments to their lending portfolios, he said.
The industry of renewable energy is booming. There are now more than 70 renewable energy companies worldwide with a market capitalization greater than US$40 million each. Their total market capitalization has been over US$30 billion.
Major investments and acquisitions have been made in recent years by leading global companies such as GE, Siemens, Shell, BP, Sanyo and Sharp and the industry could provide over 1.7 billion jobs worldwide, he said. China is a great potential renewable energy market for world investors.
Among the US$6 billion investment in 2005, most was poured into small hydropower and solar hot water energy, with US$600 million for wind power.
China plans to raise its electricity installed capacity for renewable energy to 10 percent of its total power capacity by 2010 and 20 percent by 2020.
By 2010, renewable energy excluding large hydropower will account for five percent of China's total primary energy consumption and the percentage is planned to rise to 10 percent by 2020.
The Chinese government has given much policy support to the industry of renewable energy.
The law for renewable energy, the first of its kind is China, came into effect at the beginning of this year.
Speaking at a meeting on energy development on the last month, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called for effective measures to ensure the implementation of the government's energy saving and renewable development policies and emphasized that renewable energy is an important strategic alternative to coal and oil.
(Xinhua News Agency May 17, 2006)