2021 is the “China-CEEC Green Development and Environmental Protection Year”. China and Central and Eastern European countries have achieved fruitful results in cooperation in energy conservation and emission reduction, clean energy, and ecological protection. Several influential new energy projects have been completed one after another, and various energy transformation projects that benefit people’s livelihoods have been promoted one after another. Green cooperation not only helps promote the energy transition of Central and Eastern European countries but also enables China and Central and Eastern European countries to achieve a higher level of common development and mutual benefit.
Low-carbon industry has become a hot spot for investment
Debrecen, located in eastern Hungary, is the second-largest city in the country. In September 2021, the city ushered in the largest single foreign investment project that Hungary has received in the last two years-China Enjie Group’s lithium battery separator production base project with a total investment of about 183 million euros.
The production base is located in Debrecen South Industrial Park. In the future, 4 fully automatic imported film production lines and more than 30 coating production lines will be built here. After the completion of the project, the annual production capacity of the base film will be 400 million square meters, providing about 440 local jobs. The Hungarian government will provide approximately 13.5 billion HUF (1 yuan equals 50 HUF) for this project.
“Hungary and China have great potential for cooperation in the fields of renewable energy and clean energy. Especially in the field of transportation, China’s new energy vehicle manufacturing ranks among the world’s leading levels,” said Ugrosti Marton, director of the Hungarian Institute of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade In the next few decades, the development of clean energy may determine the development trend of the country. “We are very pleased to see Hungary and China have very close cooperation in these fields, which will make Hungary’s new energy industry develop at the forefront of Europe. “
With the acceleration of the electrification process in Europe in recent years, the automotive industry has entered a critical period of replacement of new and old production capacity. Chinese new energy automobile manufacturers and power battery suppliers have formed a strong industrial synergy through collaboration, and the cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries in the field of new energy has achieved fruitful results.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce of China, as of May 2021, the scale of two-way investment between China and Central and Eastern European countries has approached US$20 billion, and areas such as green, low-carbon and new energy are becoming new investment hotspots. A large number of Chinese new energy companies have invested and set up factories in Central and Eastern European countries. A series of key energy cooperation projects such as Mozura Wind Power Station in Montenegro and Pančevo Combined Cycle Power Station in Serbia have started construction or put into operation, bringing huge economic and environmental benefits to the local area and enhancing local people’s livelihood and well-being.
Project cooperation to promote energy transition
The Neretva River, which flows through the lofty mountains, is the largest river in Bosnia and Herzegovina that flows to the Adriatic Sea. In the small mountain village of Ulog on the upper reaches of the Neretva River, the construction of the first hydropower station in Bosnia and Herzegovina undertook by a Chinese company, the construction of the Ulog Hydropower Station is progressing rapidly.
The total installed capacity of the Wuluoge Hydropower Station project is 34.44 MW. The project mainly involves the construction of dams, diversion tunnels and powerhouses. It is expected to be completed by the end of March 2024. “After the Wlog Hydropower Station is put into operation, the average annual power generation will be 82.34 GWh. It is estimated that it will save about 33,000 tons of standard coal and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 83,000 tons,” said Zhang Hua, the project manager of the Ulog Hydropower Station.
Peter Okic, Minister of Energy and Mining of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that cooperation with China on clean energy has not only brought significant economic benefits to Bosnia and Herzegovina but also potential ecological benefits. “Chinese companies have contributed to the green development of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
The Wuluoge Hydropower Station is a microcosm of China’s manufacturing and construction in recent years that has contributed to the energy transition of Central and Eastern European countries. In the “European Green Agreement”, the European Commission put forward the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Restricted by the energy structure and the level of economic development, the Central and Eastern European countries that still use coal as their main energy source are facing tremendous pressure.
Central and Eastern European countries attach great importance to green development. For example, Hungary has formulated the Green Development Strategy and the “National Sustainable Development Framework Strategy”; Poland has launched the “Poland 2030 National Environmental Policy” and “2040 Energy Policy”; the Czech Republic has adopted the “Czech Industry 4.0″ Initiative” and so on. Majman, deputy director of the Polish Institute for Security and International Development, said: “Central and Eastern European countries have great potential for the development of the clean energy industry, and China’s technological innovation in clean energy is at the forefront of the world. China’s energy cooperation has built a good platform. The cooperation between the two sides in the field of clean energy will achieve mutual benefit and win-win results.”
A batch of Polish photovoltaic power station projects invested and acquired by the China-Central and Eastern Europe Investment Cooperation Fund will be completed and connected to the grid in 2021. These projects can meet the electricity needs of more than 9,000 households in Poland and create more than 300 jobs in Poland during the epidemic prevention and control period. Polish Minister of Climate, Mihav Kultika, said: “By 2040, half of Poland’s installed power generation capacity will achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions. We very much hope that Chinese companies can participate in the development of Poland’s clean energy industry and seek mutual benefits. Opportunity for a win-win situation.”
Open up more space for economic and trade exchanges
Polkowice is a small mining town with a long history in southwestern Poland. In recent years, the local government has invested over 9 million U.S. dollars to upgrade the environmental protection of the public transportation system and replace diesel and gasoline vehicles with electric vehicles. In May 2021, the first batch of 9 pure electric buses designed and produced by China Yutong Bus was officially put into use, becoming the first batch of Chinese pure electric buses introduced in Poland.
The mayor of Polkowice, Lucas Puznierski, said: “The use of electric buses in China is a major event for our cities and residents. The electrification of transportation is one of our core measures. , Electric travel can not only reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality but also help protect the health of residents.”
“From the Baltic Sea to the Balkans, you can see green cooperation projects between Central and Eastern European countries and China, including wind farms, photovoltaic power plants, biomass power plants, geothermal power plants, and hydropower plants. All these projects show that Chinese companies are in With rich design and construction experience in the field of green energy, it has strong competitiveness in the international market,” said Catalina Zakic, a researcher at the Serbian Institute of International Political Economy.
Guraček, director of the Center for European Studies at the University of Warsaw in Poland, said frankly that the cooperation between Central and Eastern European countries and China will not only open up new and broad prospects for economic and trade cooperation between the two sides but also inject strong impetus into the green transformation of Central and Eastern European countries.
Marek Hrubek, director of the Globalization Research Center of the Czech Academy of Sciences, said that the energy transition of Central and Eastern European countries is not only an environmental issue but also an economic and social issue. The strengthening of cooperation between Central and Eastern European countries and China in the field of green industry is a good thing that benefits both parties and future generations.