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UPDATED: November 15, 2010 NO. 46 NOVEMBER 18, 2010
An Energetic Solution
Clean energy is a fledgling industry, and needs support. Countries across the world all subsidize it

GE produced about 5 million kw of wind turbines each year, sold about 4 million kw in the U.S. market, and the remaining 1 million kw to other countries, with half of the 1 million to China. GE's performance in China's market is pretty good. Its sales have grown several times in recent years.

Chinese companies export a significant amount of solar PV cells and modules. Does the Chinese Government subsidize all solar PV producers, or only export-oriented companies?

The Chinese Government does not subsidize solar PV producers, whether they export their products or not. China has a "Golden Sun" project, which subsidizes the users. Whoever installs solar power generating equipment can claim the subsidy. The projects of domestic companies or foreign companies, whichever win the bid, are eligible for the subsidy.

Can you talk about China's wind turbine exports?

Wind turbines produced in China are primarily to meet domestic needs. China has exported very few wind turbines. Last year, China exported fewer than 20 wind turbines worldwide.

The USW union alleged China has requested foreign companies to transfer technologies. Do you think this request is reasonable?

This is a commercial behavior. It is bargaining in business negotiations. When two companies are haggling over the terms for cooperation, one puts out conditions, the other can accept or refuse the conditions. A deal will be made only when the two sides can both benefit from it. Technology transfer is not a requirement by the government. The USW's allegations do not make sense.

Will the disputes affect China's determination and policies to develop clean energy?

No. Both China and the United States are large energy consuming countries. Both need to develop and support clean energy development, and should not fight for small profits. Now, China is moving faster in clean energy development. The United States should catch up, rather than slowing China down.

Besides, in recent years, solar PV production in the United States has also grown significantly. In 2009, the global solar PV production was up 35 percent, and production from the United States was up nearly 40 percent.

It is true that growth in China is faster than in the United States. Yet, the saying that China's exports hurt the interests of U.S. solar PV producers is unfounded.

If the two countries wage a trade war, what will be the consequence?

A trade war will hurt both sides. Such a war will harm the United States more. Many technologies and equipment to produce solar PV and wind turbines in China have been bought from the U.S. companies, such as Dupont, GE and First Solar.

Chinese solar PV producers have purchased more than $5 billion in equipment, accounting for about 80 percent of U.S. exports of such equipment. They also have bought more than $5 billion worth of poly-silicon from the United States, creating more than 1,000 jobs in the United States.

If the two countries cooperate, both will win. Fighting will do no good to anyone. That will also hurt the efforts to combat global climate change.

Last November, China and the United States announced a far-reaching package of measures to strengthen cooperation between the two countries on clean energy. How does the cooperation hold up now?

The projects in the China-U.S. clean energy announcements are being launched or about to be launched. These projects are cooperation between the two governments. The governments set the platform for the private sectors to participate. The projects just started, and there has been no significant progress to my knowledge.

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