Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

**UPDATE: We're thrilled to have launched a brand-new website! Check it out here:

Environment China is a weekly bilingual podcast from the Beijing Energy Network. The show features conversations with advocates, entrepreneurs, and experts working in the environmental field in China.  We are looking to learn how they do their work, what new strategies and solutions they have found, and why now is the right time for real and positive changes in China’s environmental field.

If you like Environment China, you can subscribe on iTunes here, as well as on other podcast apps, such as Stitcher and Overcast. We also invite you to subscribe to our feed on libsyn here. And if you really like Environment China, you can leave us a comment on iTunes — we really appreciate your support!

Listen to the latest episodes below!

Mar 20, 2023

Today, we’re talking about China’s low-carbon energy transition and the unique role of State Owned Enterprises, or SOEs.

Our guest is Erlend Ek, Lead Analyst for Energy at China Policy. From 2018-2022 Erlend served as advisor for energy affairs at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in BJ. Prior to that role, he served in various consulting roles at China Policy. He has degrees from the University of Oslo, he studied Chinese at Xiamen University, and he is now at Stavanger University. You can find his content at China Policy.

As sometimes happens, Erlend and I ended up having a longer conversation after I shut off the recording, and I took a few notes from that conversation and I’m inserting it here as an intro to our talk:

  • First, Erlend is optimistic on SOEs being able to lead the energy transition, because he sees the central govt moving away from "project economy" (where the key performance indicator is how many projects are completed) to a performance evaluation system based on contribution to low-carbon, tax revenue, innovation.
  • In terms of its low-carbon policy, Erlend considers that China is more transparent than the West, and more consistent. He thinks carbon peaking / neutrality is a clear path, the purpose of the 1+n docs is to get everyone aligned, not to make new policy. Nothing about energy security is against that, it's more of a short-term push for coal ... which he says is also mainly about substituting gas and China moving away from gas, to collect the revenue from reselling gas to Europe right now.
  • Erlend is paying close attention to the new policy on Sci-Tech innovation, the list of 12 sectors. He thinks digital innovation is going to be big in the energy space, and there are all sorts of companies, including private ones, being subsidized to do digital energy transition projects.
  • Finally, Erlend thinks the speech by the NEA head on making the demand side the main focus (and energy efficiency as the main fuel) was significant, though it's unclear if NEA has much influence on the demand side.