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Asia Report: Fearing 'Protectionism,' China May Expand Domestic Market

While America continues to focus on increasing its energy security by manufacturing more of its own products, China officials are warning their domestic solar manufacturers about the inherent dangers of relying too heavily on foreign markets.

"Any policy change in foreign countries will cause turbulence in the domestic industry," Ding Wenwu, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at a forum over the weekend and reported by ChinaDaily. "International trade protectionism is on the rise, and Chinese enterprises should keep alert.”

China exports more than 90 percent of its solar panels, and many of those panels go into the U.S. market. To make up for the potential of a severed market, Chinese businesses are being encouraged to expand their domestic market.


Trade Dispute Moves Forward: The U.S. International Trade Coalition announced its ruling on the trade dispute between U.S. and Chinese solar manufacturers. According to a press release issued by SolarWorld, the company that initiated the dispute and founded the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing, the U.S. government has found there is adequate evidence of wrongdoing by Chinese solar manufacturers and will conduct a formal investigation into the matter.

Chinese Companies Join Coalition: The American solar industry is deeply (though perhaps not evenly) divided over the pending trade complaint against Chinese panel makers. If you needed any more proof of that, you got it last week when 25 companies announced that they had formed a competing coalition to counteract the mostly anonymous coalition behind the anti-dumping petition currently under review. Adding to the intrigue — and the confusion — is that the new coalition includes several of the China-based giants targeted in the investigation.


Bridging Relations: American President Barack Obama promoted free trade over the weekend as the U.S. hosted leaders of Pacific Rim nations in a conference that often focused on renewable energy.

The Price Tag on Espionage?: American Superconductor Corp., which has filed suit alleging Chinese wind giant Sinovel stole intellectual property, is seeking $1.2 billion in damages.


Kenya Looks to Asia for Geothermal Energy: Kenyan officials are questioning the government’s no-bid contract with a Chinese company to pay $400 million to drill 80 geothermal wells. Meanwhile, Kenya has awarded Japan’s Toyota Tsusho Corp. and South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering Co. contracts to build $420 million in new geothermal plants.

Deadlines Loom Amid India Solar Boom: Of the 35 PV plants slated to be completed for the first round of India’s national Solar Mission program, about a third are unlikely to make the January deadline.

Polysilicon Shakeout Ahead?: A global glut of polysilicon continues to send the price downward, and the ongoing trend could lead to a shakeout that eliminates two-thirds of the world’s suppliers, according to analysts. In China, about 90 percent of its polysilicon plants comprising half of its production may suspend production because of the price slump, according to Xie Chen, an analyst at the China Nonferrous Metals Industrial Association.


In South Korea, Here Comes the Wind: South Korea said it will invest $9 billion to build a 2.5-GW offshore wind farm, which could become the largest in the world. The first phase off the southwestern coast is a 100-MW demonstration to be completed by 2014 using turbines ranging from 3 MW to 7 MW.

In India, Wind Fuels Development: The Indian market is expected to reach 4 GW annually by 2015. The World Institute for Sustainable Energy, India projects that with larger turbines, greater land availability and expanded resource exploration, the wind potential in India could eventually be as high as 100 GW.

Envisioning a Decade of Change in India: Former India President APJ Abdul Kalam says his country’s vehicle transportation system could look vastly different in as soon as 10 years. "In a decade's time, it may be possible that all the vehicles on the road will be be run on 100 percent biofuel."

Japan’s Solar Market: Bolstered by a new feed-in-tariff and a national movement away from nuclear power, China-based Suntech sees expansion potential in Japan in 2012.

Banking on Biofuel: Eager to become a leader in oil production, Japan is beginning to invest in research to create an algae-based biofuel.


The Future of Clean Tech 

 “Chinese national and regional leadership is now fully aligned behind clean tech as an economic development and jobs growth strategy. They aren’t fighting amongst themselves about whether they should support clean energy, but are instead fighting to lead in the sector. To put it simply, China believes in renewables. At the same time, [America’s] Congress dukes it out over one bad investment and seems increasingly polarized at every turn.”

— Ron Pernick, Clean Edge


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Nov. 1-7, 2011 Asia Report: China Developer Puts U.S. Plans on Hold
Oct. 24-31, 2011 Asia Report: Energy Solutions from Hong Kong
Oct. 17-24, 2011 Asia Report: China Responds to Solar Complaint
Oct. 10-17, 2011 Asia Report: Intensity Increases Over China Pricing
Oct. 3-10, 2011 Asia Report: In Japan, the Search for Energy Solutions
September 26-Oct 3, 2011 Asia Report: Race for Innovation, Dominance and Capital
September 19-26, 2011 Asia Report: Subtle Signs of Energy Shift

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