New Hampshire, USA — American solar companies have been openly fearful that a trade complaint filed against China could instigate a retaliation. It appears such a move may be under way in Beijing after the ministry of commerce announced on Friday that it was opening a sweeping investigation of American policies that it says may have impacted the development of solar, wind and hydro industries in China.
The ministry of commerce has said it will determine a ruling by May 25. Meanwhile, a new alliance of Chinese polysilicon makers urged Beijing to file an anti-dumping claim against American polysilicon manufacturers. According to the alliance, product coming from the U.S. has “encroached on China’s polysilicon business, forcing companies to cut or halt production, and resulting in bankruptcies and job losses.” The group says that 60,000 tons of polysilicon is expected to come into China this year, up from 20,000 in 2009.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Climate Talks: A China official says he’s not optimistic about a deal being struck at the global climate talks in Durban, South Africa. Both China and the U.S. remain reluctant to sign an international agreement that would set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
IN THE NEWS
Tough Quarter: Several of China’s largest solar manufacturers posted losses for the third quarter and many included inventory write-offs in their financial statements because their goods have lost value as a result of the rapidly declining prices in the market.
Striking an Energy Deal: China and Japan announced a broad agreement this week that will link Japan’s technological advancements and China’s growing appetite for cleaner energy.
Powering Up in Indonesia: The United States has provided Indonesia, the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter, with $600 million, more than half of which will go to boost clean energy programs. Much of the nation’s emissions come from its deforestation, and the money could be used for biofuel, geothermal and hydro projects.
A Plan to Cut Palm Oil Imports: European Union governments are likely to curtail their imports of Indonesian palm oil-based biofuel, which has become cheaper due to a tax cut, to protect their own domestic plants.
AREAS OF GROWTH
Wind Growth: The growth of major wind markets in China and India is expected to slow down between now and 2020. But emerging Asian markets like South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines will continue to drive the market in the region.
Scotland Investing in China: A Scottish official told China’s news agency that Scotland and China are deepening ties that could foster offshore wind development in Asia. He said several Scottish companies have opened subsidiaries in China or have built joint ventures with Chinese companies.
India Solar Rules: The United States is pushing India to change regulations that require solar power generation to source a certain percentage of its materials locally. American companies are seeing India as a potential titan in new power generation, and they want to make sure they have access to that market.
Offshore Wind’s Future?: Researchers in Japan scrap the idea of stable and upright offshore installations in favor of lower-cost floating-axis designs that tilt according to the wind.
This excerpt is from Peter Lynch, an analyst and a contributor to RenewableEnergyWorld.com.:
“I think it is interesting to note that in 2006 China avoided implementing a FIT because ‘FITs trigger such rapid market growth,’ according to an unnamed Chinese official. I would certainly view this as a compliment to the effectiveness of a well-designed FIT. Perhaps the Chinese realized that their solar manufacturing base was not in place to address this potentially explosive market? In 2011 the Chinese implemented a FIT program, their domestic market is now booming and coincidentally, Chinese solar manufacturing has scaled up to the point where they can address this huge market without the help of imports.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Yingli has good relationships with utilities in China and they’re well-positioned to take a solid share of that market.”
— Paul Clegg, an analyst at Mizuho Securities USA Inc.
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Nov. 14-21, 2011 Asia Report: Solar Dispute Is Just Part of the Friction
Nov. 7-14, 2011 Asia Report: Fearing ‘Protectionism,’ China May Expand Domestic Market
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