International spat over solar must not turn into trade wars

● By Prof. Frederik Dahlmann, University of Warwick, UK ● Manufacturers and politicians embroiled in the dispute between China and the EU are closely watching the looming deadline of June 5th. By then the European Commission must conclude its provisional anti-dumping investigation into solar panel imports from China. Launched in September, the investigation has blown up into a public spat between the European Commission, government officials, and the industry. The accusation of anti-dumping is that Chinese solar panels and key components enter the European market at prices below market value, having benefited from Chinese state subsidy. But this obscures the deeper, less widely debated issue of what the relationship between government and the energy industry should be. Europe’s solar power industry owes its rapid growth to favourable industry incentives such as feed-in tariffs and renewable energy targets. Together with significant scientific and engineering innovations this created a new industry sector. Policy makers welcomed not only emissions-free electricity generation, but could celebrate new jobs and export opportunities too. However, very soon it became apparent that in times of spending cuts subsidies like feed-in tariffs were no longer affordable, and were cut. At the same time, China identified solar panels as a key emerging industry, ordering banks and local governments to heavily subsidise their manufacture. Ironically, the greatest driver to lowering panel costs was not government intervention but standardisation, automation, and falling silicon prices. Panel production levels have soared beyond the rate they are installed, and the result is a global glut. The current standoff is the result of government interference in a new energy sector. While Europe subsidises demand for solar energy, China pushes panel production ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

Cookies helfen bei der Bereitstellung unserer Dienste. Durch die Nutzung erklären Sie sich mit der Cookie-Setzung einverstanden. Mehr OK