08.08.10 20:36 Age: 9 yrs
Clean, green energy: a ‘how-to’ guide
Peter Corne, managing director of the Shanghai office of Eversheds and chair of the energy working group of the European China Chamber of Commerce in that city, has been working with environment law for years. In a recent interview of China Business Law Journal, he talked about the prospects for clean energy and the environment in China.
As head of the China office of a law firm that is already a powerhouse of renewable energy (RE) projects in Europe, his success on this field has also helped China in achieving its renewables energy and sustainability goals. It has been 5 years since his first ambitious start on this field; however, things didn’t turn out successfully as expected, even though it is ‘something of obvious benefit to everyone’.
Pursuant to him, the social, political and economic environment has put limitations on investments on this field, especially for foreign investors. Failure of the participants in the Copenhagen United Nations climate change conference to arrive at any meaningful emission reduction commitments has resulted in the price of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) staying low, and their value as a tool for incentivizing investment in renewable projects being limited. Besides, more traditional obstacles still loom large in China. It is still hard for RE projects to provide a return to investors without strong government support in the form of incentives, tax breaks and subsidies. Especially for foreign investors, local government is normally strapped for resources and protective of competing local business interests even if support from central government exists.
However, things don’t all sound that pessimistic. For foreign investors, finding a Chinese partner with a controlling interest in the project will be securing incentives and local government support. And new sources of local financing have emerged. The Chinese government’s stimulus package has provided considerable financing to renewable energy projects, and infrastructure projects related to renewables. Many new local RMB funds drawn from domestic sources actively are seeking investments in this area. China has begun to realize this and is rapidly ramping up government investment in green energy projects.
The prospects for green energy projects and their investments in China are brighter under this circumstance. “Bring on the green energy and cleantech projects! And if they do not find me, I will go out and find them – even create them – any way I can.” said Peter Corne optimistically.