The China-Arab States Expo is a fair hosted by the Ningxia Autonomous Regional government, endorsed by the State council and supported by the Ministry of Commerce. This is third annual event, focusing on technology cooperation, investment and finance and energy. The China-Arab States Energy Corporation Forum took place on 17th September 2013, in Yinchuan, Ningxia.
As a region with biggest Hui/Muslim community in China, Ningxia has a natural link with the Arab states, which is also the reason why the capital was selected as the site to host the China-Arab states Expo.
The forum featured high level participants such as Mr. Zhang Guobao, former Director General of National Energy Administration, and the governor of the Ninxia Autonomous Region.
Ningxia is a region with rich energy resources. With 3800 MW of installed renewable energy capacity, it ranks 8th in wind among Chinese provinces and #3 in solar, and it also has plenty of coal. 41% of the GDP of Ningxia is from energy related businesses. An HVDC line connects Ningxia with Shangdong, supplying electricity to this fast growing coastal region. There is also a plan to connect Ningxia with Zhejiang to support its economic development.
On the Arab side, we had Mr. Mahmoud Attiyah Mustafa, VP of the New Energy Project Executive Bureau of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy of Egypt, who spoke of the national target of 20% RE by 2020, of which 12% is from wind and 8% from other RES. By 2017, given the current political turmoil, wind and solar PV each have a target of an additional 340 MW; 140 MW PV is already connected, and 120 MW of wind is under construction with another 250 MW under the permitting process.
Also speaking was a representative of the Regional Center of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), which is an NGO established four years ago, with 13 Arab states as members. In each of these countries, they have a focal point in the ministry of energy/environment. They produce reports and statistics for the region.
The afternoon session had two forums focusing on enhancing the bilateral collaboration between China and Arab countries: investors, RE equipment manufacturers, developers and associations were all there to share their views.
There are still opportunities for Chinese companies to get into these markets on a large scale, but with the same challenges they have in entering international markets in general. But it seems that a move is now on to take advantage of these opportunities, and this is something to keep an eye on.