Jing Chunmei: Building a Platform for International Energy Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative
“At present, the reform of global energy governance has become the commanding high point of energy cooperation. As the global energy production center moves westward while the energy consumption center continues to expand eastward, we need to establish a new and more inclusive global governance mechanism to connect the major energy producers and consumers, and safeguard energy security concerning all the countries”, said Dr. Jing Chunmei, Deputy Director of the CCIEE Information Department, at the press conference for “Research on Strengthening International Energy Cooperation (hereinafter referred to as “The Research”).
The current system of global governance institutions is rather fragmented as it only reflects the interests of traditional energy-producing countries or the interests of the developed countries of the OECD. The only energy organization that can link energy producing countries with consuming countries is the Energy Charter Treaty. However, the Energy Charter Treaty also clearly favors major advanced economies and has not been able to attract the OPEC, Russia, Central Asia and other countries. Therefore, the Energy Charter Treaty has limited impact on the global energy market.
The Research believes that the focus of the Belt and Road, the Eurasian continent is the heart of the world’s energy economy and the regions along the belt and road route will become the world’s largest market of energy production and consumption. Building a platform or mechanism for global energy cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative is conducive to optimize the global energy governance mechanism, increase the economic correlation among relevant countries, and truly form a common community of shared interests, shared responsibility, and shared future.
“Currently, energy has become the ‘New Silk’ of the Belt and Road Initiative, and energy cooperation has also become an important theme and new highlight of the international cooperation of the Belt and Road”, said Jing Chunmei. Since the Belt and Road initiative was proposed, more than 100 countries and international organizations around the world have actively supported and participated in the building of the Belt and Road. More than 40 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China.
Relevant data show that China has so far invested more than US$170 billion in electricity, more than US$90 billion in oil and gas of the countries along the route. All these direct investments involve more than 40 major energy projects in 19 countries along the route. Furthermore, China has participated in coal power projects of 25 countries along the route, with a total installed capacity of more than 250,000 megawatts. In addition, the third-generation nuclear power technology of China is actively exploring markets such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Iran.
Presently, accelerating energy transformation and realizing green and low-carbon development has become the global trend and hence the development of new energy has become an important starting point for countries to seize the commanding heights of future development. As the world’s largest country for photovoltaic production and installation, wind power installation, efficiency improvement, the largest builder of nuclear plants, the largest owner of electronic vehicles, China is becoming a leader in clean energy.
“New energy is the area with the greatest potential for international energy cooperation in the future, and China has great advantages in cooperating with countries along the belt and road, such as a good financial foundation and great potential. The global energy internet, which is based on clean energy, electricity, interconnection, joint building and sharing will also play a comprehensive and leading role in the implementation of the Belt and Road initiative, and has strategic significance”, explained by Jing Chunmei in an interview with reporters.
The Research argues that China should devote itself to deepen the existing multilateral and bilateral cooperation mechanisms, promote the reform of global energy governance in all directions. Starting with the building of the Belt and Road, China should deepen international energy cooperation, promote the formation of a new framework for international and regional cooperation, and establish a comprehensive energy partnership. “We believe that four transformations must be achieved. The first one is to change the one-way bilateral energy cooperation in the past to multilateral and multi-level energy cooperation. The second one is to change from cooperation with one single country to all the countries along the route. The third one is to change from regional energy cooperation mechanism to a regional energy mechanism. Lastly, we should change the emphasis of cooperation from fossil energy to cooperation on the economic industrial chain, which is based on green and low-carbon”, said Jing Chunmei.