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Chinese investment in the EU renewable energy sector: Motives, synergies and policy implications

Louise Curran, Ping Lv and Francesca Spigarelli

Energy Policy, 2017, vol. 101, issue C, 670-682

Abstract: This paper addresses three questions: how have trade and investment in wind and solar sectors evolved between the EU and China in recent years? Is there a link between rising trade conflicts and trade and investment trends? And what wider motivations and synergies can be identified in Chinese investments in the EU's RE sector? To address these questions we analyze trade and investment data, as well as qualitative data, including information from media and company reports. Large increases in trade and investment were followed by rapid falls since 2012–13. Trade tensions have not led to increases in investment, rather the inverse. We find that Chinese investment in these two sectors is very concentrated in Germany. The key motivation for investment is market seeking, although R+D is also important, especially for wind. Most investments are greenfield, a preference that has persisted over time. Our qualitative analysis of several key acquisitions indicates that technology integration and the consolidation of capacities across the supply chain were key motivations in most of the cases studied. We conclude with some policy orientations.

Keywords: Renewable energy; FDI; EU-China relations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:101:y:2017:i:c:p:670-682