9th Meeting of the Sino-German Working Group on Energy
On 22 January 2021, the ninth meeting of the Sino-German Working Group on Energy between the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the National Energy Administration (NEA) took place virtually. At the meeting, both sides reviewed last year’s progress and achievements of the Sino-German cooperation on energy and discussed new activities and focal topics for 2021.
In his opening speech, Mr. He Yang, director general of NEA’s International Cooperation Department, summarized the achievements of China’s energy transition in recent years and expressed China’s willingness on expanding the international energy cooperation under the goal of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Sino-German Energy Partnership deepened the exchange on the regulatory, economic, and technical aspects of both countries’ energy transitions in 2020. Mr. He highlighted several activities, such as the successful organization of various expert workshops on biomethane, energy storage and hydrogen, the publication of the China Energy Transition Status Report 2020 as well as policy recommendations given to NEA by the German side.
Mr. Herdan, director general of BMWi’s Energy Policy Department introduced the Energiewende’s recent progress. Last year, renewable energy surpassed 45% of German gross electricity consumption. He highlighted that Germany had successfully achieved the decoupling of economic growth and energy consumption. Between 1990 and 2019, while German GDP grew by 45%, primary energy demand fell by 12%. However, much remains to be done to achieve the goal of climate neutrality by 2050, especially in the industry and heating sectors. Mr. Herdan emphasized the key role of green hydrogen for sector coupling and decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors, such as steel or chemicals.
Both sides agreed on deepening the cooperation on power and spot market reform, power sector flexibility, sustainable heating, biomethane, distributed energy, hydrogen and energy storage as well as the cooperation within the Sino-German Energy Transition project in support of Chinese think tanks. Both sides emphasized their willingness to intensify the involvement and engagement of the private sector in joint activities.
The Sino-German Working Group on Energy is an important cooperation mechanism between Germany and China and set up as part of the Sino-German Economic and Technological Cooperation Forum. The working group meets once a year to review previous achievements and progresses and to identify areas and activities for future cooperation between BMWi and NEA. The ongoing exchange on (renewable) energy policies, regulations and technological innovations between Germany and China is key for enhancing both countries’ energy transitions and facilitating fertile business environments in Germany and China.