Does the Biden Administration Get Why China Dominates Intermittent Wind and Solar Manufacturing?

Essay by Eric Worrall

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Australia’s Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen have announced a joint agreement to break China’s dominance of solar and wind manufacture.

Breaking from China’s clean energy dominance ‘imperative’, US and Australia say after new climate tech deal

New agreement to fast-track climate solutions signed as countries underscore need for diversified supply chains

Adam Morton Climate and environment editor
@adamlmorton Tue 12 Jul 2022 18.58 AEST

In a joint press conference in Sydney, the US energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, and the Australian climate change and energy minister, Chris Bowen, announced a “net zero technology acceleration partnership”, including an initial focus on long-duration energy storage and digitising power grids.

They said the agreement was motivated in part by the need for a clean energy and critical mineral supply chain that did not depend as much on China, which is responsible for about 80% of solar energy technology manufacturing. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), it is expected to reach 95% by 2025.

Granholm compared the risk of relying on China for clean technology to the west’s over-dependence on Russian fossil fuels – a mistake that sparked a global energy crisis after it invaded Ukraine.

“I worry that China has big-footed a lot of the technology and supply chains that could make us vulnerable if we don’t develop our own supply chains,” she said. “From an energy security point of view, it is imperative that nations that share the same values develop our own supply chains, not just for the climate, but for our energy security.

“We’ve seen what happens when we rely too much on one entity for our source of fuel, and we don’t want that to happen – so to diversify those energy sources and to link up with partners is part of our energy security.”

Bowen agreed. “It’s good for our own economies and it’s good for our national security to have supply chains among ourselves, but also amongst friends and allies,” he said.

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It is no mystery why China dominates intermittent solar and wind manufacturing.

Solar and wind manufacturing is energy intensive. Chinese energy is cheaper than Western energy, because China burns coal for energy.

The USA and Australia can make all the agreements they want to “break China’s dominance”, but so long as nobody addresses the underlying problem, so long as China can outcompete US and Australian energy intensive manufacturers because of lower Chinese energy costs, those agreements are not worth the paper they are written on.

via Watts Up With That?

July 15, 2022 at 12:24PM

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