- Solar power: dependence on China will increase
- German embassy in Hong Kong expects “tough weeks”
- Wang Yi speaks with Ukraine’s foreign minister
- US signals continued support for Taiwan
- China imports less coal from Russia
- Chinese coal and gas consumption rose in 2021
- Sinolytics.Radar: increasing energy efficiency
- Profile: Vera Philipps – from the East Asia department to Berlin’s local politics
The war in Ukraine is upsetting many of our certainties. One of the most pressing matters that Germany is currently facing is the issue of energy security. In response to the invasion of Ukraine, both the German government and the EU have now announced that they want to accelerate the expansion of renewable energies in order to be less dependent on Russia. The German Minister of Finance Christian Lindner even referred to renewables in the Bundestag as “freedom energies” in this context.
However, this strategy could lead us from one dependency to the next, writes Nico Beckert. The solar industry is dominated by China, after all. European photovoltaic imports from China already amount to 63 percent. The EU also fears that Chinese companies will only serve the domestic market in the event of shortages.
Meanwhile, the mood of the Hong Kong population is deteriorating fast. Over the past two days, almost 70,000 new Covid infections were registered within the city. China’s President Xi Jinping wants to apply his Zero-Covid Policy in Hong Kong with a heavy hand, including a possible lockdown. The German embassy is already preparing its citizens for the “tough weeks” ahead. “Unclear mass testing, quarantine facilities reminiscent of camps, mandatory masks when jogging, friends leaving the country, cordoned off playgrounds: We will all need a lot of discipline and patience,” Consul General Stefanie Seedig explained the situation on Tuesday in a letter to the city’s roughly 2,000 German residents.
Even “a separation of minors from their parents in quarantine or isolation” is imaginable in this uncertain situation, Seedig said. The once vibrant international business hub was already a shadow of its former self before the Covid escalation. These strict measures are likely to drive off even more expats soon.
Energy transition: from Russian to Chinese dependence
For decades, Russia reliably ensured Germany’s power supply. This could soon come to an end. Partly in response to the invasion of Ukraine, the German government and the EU want to massively expand renewable energies. In reaction to Putin’s war, German Minister of Finance Christian Lindner even referred to renewables as freedom energies in the German Bundestag. But the solar industry is dominated by China. Are Germany and the EU slipping from one dependency to the next? And how will the prices for solar modules develop if two economic areas as large as the EU and China expand their solar power simultaneously?
From gas dependency to solar dependency?
The Russian invasion of Ukraine shows how risky gas dependency is. That is why the German government now wants to speed up the expansion of renewables even more. According to the next eco-electricity amendment, renewable energies are to cover “almost all” of the country’s power demand by as early as 2035. Solar power plays an important role in this. By 2030, it is to provide 200 gigawatts of capacity – a fourfold increase on the current figure.
The EU will also soon present a new energy strategy. According to insiders, fossil fuels are to be cut by 40 percent by 2030 with renewables being expanded at a faster pace. In addition, further investments in renewables are to be made. An EU strategy to accelerate the expansion of solar power is expected to be announced in June.