China announced a number of new low-carbon investments in Britain valued at upwards of £10 billion during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit this week.
They include three new nuclear plants including the controversial Hinkley Point C installation, a new biomass plant in Wales, an offshore wind farm in Scotland, and low-carbon transport including electric buses and zero-emission capable taxis.
“Pushed by climate change concerns and pulled by the lure of a rapidly growing global market, China is set to dominate both the politics and the business of the world’s low-carbon transition,” said Richard Black, director of think tank Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).
“It’s already the world’s biggest market for low-carbon goods and services; a few years ago it was famously building one coal-fired power station every week, now it’s building the equivalent amount of clean energy capacity every week.”
The investments will help cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by reducing CO2 from the energy and transport sectors.
China General Nuclear Power Corp. will cover £6 billion of Hinkley’s estimated £18 billion cost.
The plant, to be majority-owned by France’s EDF, is due to come online in 2025, which would make it the country’s first atomic energy plant in 30 years.
However, the project has been heavy criticised after the UK government revealed it had guaranteed that the plant will earn a minimum £92.50/MWh for 35 years – a price that is more than double the country’s current wholesale electricity rates.