China's global power: Estimating Chinese foreign direct investment in the electric power sector

Zhongshu Li, Kevin P. Gallagher, Denise L. Mauzerall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

We analyze the spatial and technological distribution of China's overseas electric power investments around the world, and the pollution intensity of Chinese coal fired power plants relative to those held by non-Chinese entities. We find that Chinese firms hold approximately $115 billion USD in electric power assets globally, with an average of 73% ownership stake in a total capacity of 81 GW. Chinese power investments span the globe but are largely found in developing countries, particularly in Asia and Latin America. The vast majority of Chinese investment goes to coal (24.5 GW), gas (20.5 GW) and hydropower (18.1 GW), while the share of wind (7.2 GW) and solar (3.1 GW) is relatively small but may be rising. The energy mix of Chinese overseas investment is similar to the existing world portfolio. Within the coal sector, between 2011 and 2017, the majority of Chinese greenfield investment in coal used supercritical technologies (58 percent) while only 34 percent of non-Chinese coal plants built during this period were supercritical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111056
JournalEnergy Policy
Volume136
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Keywords

  • China
  • Electric power sector
  • Foreign direct investment
  • Fossil fuel
  • Renewable energy

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