China must keep momentum in energy revolution

By Cai Yiming Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/7 21:38:39

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT


In April 2018, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council declared that a free trade zone would be established in Hainan by 2020, with a free trade port to follow by 2025.

The government also released "guidelines on supporting the southern island province of Hainan to deepen reform and opening-up," and although some of the items in the guidelines may be too subtle for some people to notice, it is still necessary to mention them.

Several countries in the EU have set timetables for phasing out gasoline cars. China is also promoting green cars, with pilot projects planned and support for the carbon emission exchange founded in Hainan. There is also a push for new-energy vehicles (NEVs) to be adopted faster, and gasoline cars will eventually be banned.

Construction of a smart grid will also lay the foundations for broader application of new-energy technology. Along with a carbon emission exchange, it shows how the overall economic focus is making a transition from oil to new energy. It also means that China's energy revolution has already begun.

The recent tension over the chip trade has exposed China's Achilles' heel by pointing up a vital area in which the domestic manufacturing industry lags behind. But in my opinion, the energy revolution will have more significance for reasonable utilization of resources, environmental protection and hence human destiny, compared to the manufacturing and trade of chips. To forge a green and comprehensive free trade port with new concepts will effectively promote international trade and domestic manufacturing in areas like the semiconductor industry.

The multi-dimensional space resource theory divides resource utilization into breadth space and depth space. Breadth space refers to the ocean, and even to outer space to some extent, so the breadth space is almost unlimited. Depth space refers to the development of ocean wind energy, solar energy and other renewable energies and resources. Since these are inexhaustible, depth space is unlimited as well and the exploitation potential is almost infinite.

The countries that can develop and exploit depth space reasonably and according to their needs will hold the keys to harmonious development of resource utilization and ecological protection. They will open the gateway to a peaceful future and lay the foundations for human destiny.

Human history has seen sometimes excessive advances in production capacity. The savage and blind law of the jungle has become a cancer for human development. Geopolitical and economic development models have also become outdated. New ones are needed that stress the sustainable use of resources and protection of the environment.

This ideology applies to the new Hainan free trade port, which will have to be different from traditional ones. At this time, it has to deal with multiple pressures in terms of resources, the environment, trade, the new geopolitical situation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry. Fossil fuels remain by far the most important energy source for human society. New-energy resources are expected to start taking over in the next 20 years. Therefore, the exploitation of new energy is central to national economic development. Industrial transformation will boost new economic prosperity, while allowing for productivity advancement and exciting opportunities for employment.

To cope with the pressure it faces, China will have to fully utilize advantages in terms of the tariffs and policies of the free trade port. At the same time, precautions must also be taken. It is important to build a comprehensive and green free trade port as well as a port that is adaptive, responsive and that can foster cooperation.

China has developed great momentum in the new-energy field. In recent years, the list of Global Top 500 New Energy Enterprises in both 2016 and 2017 showed that China has more of these companies than other countries. Even so, with their solid industrial bases and strong innovation abilities, the competitiveness of developed countries such as the US and European countries cannot be neglected.

The author is a researcher at Zhoushan Port and Shipping Administration, visiting professor at the Economics and Management School of Zhejiang Ocean University and founder of the multi-dimensional space resource theory.

Posted in: INSIDER'S EYE

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