Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 May 2019

Green-eyed monster to stalk energy summit

Expect an awkward silence when German and Chinese participants meet at WFES.

Companies represented at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) this month are working towards the same goal of reducing carbon emissions.

But there will be plenty of tension between the event's two largest contingents.

Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, will hold his keynote speech at the summit, which starts on January 16 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec), in front of a familiar crowd, with China set to field the most companies for a second year running. More than 50 Chinese companies are expected to be present at WFES, said Frederic Theux, the president of Reed Exhibitions, the event organiser. There will be about 40 companies from Germany, China's biggest competitor for exhibition space, at WFES.

"There's been a shift in the past years, between the German and the Chinese participation, and it does reflect the shift in the market, because Chinese competition makes the German and US industry struggle a lot, and [China is] taking more and more market share," said Mr Theux.

This new reality has been much to the chagrin of Germany, which not long ago dominated the solar industry. That became evident when it resorted to legal action to fend off the competition from the Far East.

First Solar, the largest German producer of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, has filed a trade petition against Chinese PV producers with the US Commerce Department via its US subsidiary, accusing the Chinese of price dumping.

The US is a key market for the solar industry. A study by the Solar Energy Industries Association estimates US developers installed 1,700 megawatts of solar panels last year, an increase of 89 per cent on the previous year. Should the petition be successful, Chinese companies will be subject to countervailing or trade import, duties, which could knock them off their perch as market leaders in the US.

Countries, and companies, are used to competition. Nevertheless, the legal stand-off in the US will not be conducive to the atmosphere in the halls of Adnec when German and Chinese delegates meet.

Green is, after all, also the colour of envy.


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Updated: January 1, 2012 04:00 AM