Energy transition: Trade conflicts hinder and a $2.4 trillion per year call


The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has organised and hosted the first Beijing Renewable Energy Investment Summit (BREIS) to discuss the impact of trade wars on the energy transition as well as to come with possible solutions to address the challenges.

The summit was held on the 21 of October in Beijing was organised in partnership with the Chinese Wind Energy Association and the Chinese Renewable Energy Association.

Renewable energy is a hot topic disrupting the energy industry and is also set for discussion at the Asian Utility Week and POWERGEN Asia conference which takes place on 22-24 September 2020. Click here to register to attend and for more information about the event

Industry stakeholders present discussed how to enhance cooperation, create appropriate investment climates and regulatory environments in order to radically increase investment in renewable energy.

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Industry leaders called for governments to refrain from introducing trade barriers which impact wind turbine equipment and to ensure an open investment climate for companies financing the global energy transition.

Onshore wind energy has reduced its levelised cost of energy by 45% over the last decade.

The energy industry needs to increase annual investments in renewables to $2.4 trillion through 2050 to address climate change and reverse the negative impacts of trade conflicts on the energy industry.

According to leaders present at the summit:

  • Open trade and investment environments are vital to carry out the necessary energy transition cost-effectively
  • Annual investment in renewables must increase by fivefold to achieve 1.5 C pathway
  • Trade warsconflicts and protectionism risk are increasing the cost of renewables after a global push which has made wind and solar energy more competitive than fossil fuels and nuclear
  • Protectionist policies could potentially add up to 20% on wind turbine supply chain costs
  • Governments must work together to ensure open investment environments

Ben Backwell, CEO of the GWEC, said: “As global warming continues to break records putting the fate of our planet at risk, the world faces possibly its greatest historic challenge so far, and there is unprecedented public and political support for taking action.

“It is vitally important for countries, governments, companies and communities to be working together to scale up the deployment of technologies like wind energy that we need to decarbonise. And yet, every week we are hearing talk about new trade barriers and new restrictions on badly needed investments being introduced. Whether we are in Beijing, Brussels or Washington, we all face a common problem and need to cooperate to replace fossil fuels with renewables as fast as possible and at the lowest cost.”

Morten Dyrholm, senior vice president at Vestas added, “In today’s wind market, it’s key to invest in global reach and a global supply chain. As market growth fluctuates and there’s a strong push for localisation, having supply chain flexibility is key, but trade wars and barriers do real damage to businesses by inflating prices. It makes a global supply chain less global, making renewables less competitive. At Vestas, it’s clear that trade wars and barriers do not help spur localisation, and a healthy competition which is needed to attract investments”