China Shifts Belt and Road Energy Spending to Renewables, Study Finds

(Bloomberg) -- After 10 years of helping other countries develop massive amounts of power generation, China’s Belt and Road initiative is pivoting more toward renewable energy, according to a new study from Wood Mackenzie Ltd.

Renewables account for 57% of overseas development projects that are currently planned or in construction, compared to 37% of the capacity built over the last decade, the report said. The shift has come as the price of wind turbines and solar panels has fallen, and as governments amp up pressure to move away from polluting fossil fuels.

“China is changing its overall strategy, so we expect to see more focus on renewables, and more direct investment than the bilateral lending that was more common in the early years of the BRI,” said Alex Whitworth, the consultancy’s head of Asia-Pacific power and renewables research.

Beijing’s domestic ramp-up of clean energy continues apace, and installations of solar, wind, nuclear and hydro this year should generate enough electricity to power all of France, according to a report last week from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.