Mar 20, 2023
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
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
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.
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.
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
- 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