Welcome to Azure International

Azure International is a leading investment and advisory company focused on China's cleantech energy sector. Founded in 2003, we have a team of 20+ local and international professionals based in China with backgrounds in engineering, marketing, manufacturing, consulting, policy, government relations and finance. In addition to deep advisory capabilities in renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon management, and energy finance, we have proven capability to invest in and accelerate the development of clean energy companies.  Our portfolio and partner companies have achieved both significant commercial success and returns to investors. Azure provides the necessary expertise and execution capabilities in China to lead relationship development with government and strategic partners, project execution, sourcing, sales and technology development – all with deep understanding of Chinese and international requirements.

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Dear readers,


It's been a while since we've shared some weekly China cleantech news. We had interrupted this good habit last year due to some internal changes. Answering the requests of many of you who have kindly contacted us, we're now thrilled to re-launch the effort, especially as plenty is happening and the Chinese cleantech landscape is more exciting than ever. We're starting with this simple info-graphic summarizing the growth in the power market during 2017, to make sure everybody is up to speed. Starting next week we'll revert back to our standard format with 5 selected news items along with summary analysis from our experts. We're always happy to exchange on the Chinese Cleantech markets with you, learn about new technologies and make new friends, so don't hesitate to reach out. Thanks to all for your precious support !


Hubert Beaumont
Azure International


Read more: China Cleantech Update March 26, 2018

News Summary:

  • Fujian province publishes development plan outline under 13th Five Year Plan
  • China's SPIC, Mingyang Electric to develop offshore wind power in Guangdong province
  • ReneSola plans 550 MW of global solar installations in 2017
  • Shanxi province publishes January wind power statistics

Wind: Fujian Province Publishes Development Plan Outline of the Provincial 13th Five Year Plan
Fujian province recently published the provincial development plan as part of its 13th 5YP. Included in the plan is the provincial government's intention to promote both onshore and offshore wind development. While the provincial target does not set out a concrete installation number for 2020, instead calling for a “doubling of 2015's installed capacity of 1.72 GW” by 2020. (Fujian DRC)

Fujian Province Large Scale Power Projects Distribution Map


Source: Fujian DRC

Offshore wind currently occupies only a small percentage of China's total wind generation capacity, however we expect it to grow steadily over the coming years. China has currently set out a national 5 GW target for offshore wind development, with Fujian slated to be the centerpiece of this development. The Fujian Putian Nanri offshore wind project's total installed capacity of 400 MW is currently the largest offshore wind project in China. 

Under the national target, Fujian province plans to reach 3 GW by 2020, or 60% of total offshore wind. However the provincial development target is more vague, simply calling for a “doubling of 2015 installed capacity”. While doubling 2015's 1.72 GW would certainly surpass the national target of 3 GW, the noncommittal language used for the provincial target is reflective of the difficulties China has faced in developing offshore wind, with it's attendant technological challenges, greater investment needed and longer build-out period.

Read more: China Cleantech Update March 20, 2017

News Summary:

  • Anhui's Industrial Green Development Plan calls for the acceleration of distributed solar
  • Fujian government publishes list of key construction projects for 2017
  • Jinko Solar and Japan's Marubeni sign 1.18 GW power purchase agreement in Abu Dhabi
  • Weinan City, Shaanxi publishes New Energy and New Materials Development Plan (2016-2020)

Solar: Anhui's Industrial Green Development Plan Emphasizes Distributed Solar
Anhui's Economic Information Council recently released the Industrial Green Development Plan as part of the province's 13th Five Year Plan. The document calls for the acceleration of constructing distributed energy sources in industrial parks, with particular emphasis on solar rooftops and solar heaters. Distributed solar, along with smart grid technology, is encouraged for integration into industrial parks, particularly iron and steel factories, as part of Anhui's promotion of industrial energy efficiency. (BJX CN)


Source: Azure International

While not specified in the most recent Solar Power Development Plan, under the national Electricity Development Plan, the Solar Power target for 2020 contains a 60 GW sub-target for distributed solar. Anhui province currently has 3.45 GW of installed solar capacity, however, only 780 MW of this is distributed solar. Nevertheless, this installed capacity figure still makes Anhui the fifth largest province for distributed solar in China. The top four are Zhejiang (2,070 MW), Jiangsu (1,730 MW), Shandong (1,190 MW), and Guangdong (880 MW). 

Developing distributed solar has been more difficult than utility-scale projects primarily due to the high self-consumption threshold requirement set out by the NEA. The requirement mandates that at least 80% of the self-generated power will be consumed on-site with no more than 20% of the power sold back to the grid, and largely limits the applications of distributed solar to energy intensive industrial parks. Therefore, successfully integrating distributed solar with heavy industry will be key if China's ambitious 60 GW sub-target is to be met by 2020. 

Read more: China Cleantech Update March 09, 2017

News Summary:

  • Wind project approvals halted for six northern provinces
  • 2016 IMAR power generation summary published by statistics bureau 
  •  Preliminary construction begins on biomass power plant in Guinea-Bissau

Wind: NEA Issues 2017 Wind Investment Monitoring and Warning Results
The NEA recently published monitoring and warning results for wind investment in 2017. Most important is the red-listing of six major wind producing provinces, which prevents project approvals for new wind power projects. The affected provinces are: Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Jilin and Heilongjiang. The NEA document also encourages a greater and concentrated effort for wind investment in the greater Jing-Jin-Tang area, which borders the red-listed provinces. (NEA CN)

Map of Regions where Wind Power Project Approvals Are Halted (Red)


Source: Azure International, NEA

Authorities continue to struggle with high curtailment rates in many provinces due to significant installed capacity, low power demand, or transmission bottlenecks constraints. The red-listed provinces account for over 76 GW, 51% of total wind capacity in China. Individually, the affected provinces all experienced high levels of curtailment in 2016, with Inner Mongolia (21%), Jilin (30%), Heilongjiang (19%), Gansu (43%), Ningxia (13%), and Xinjiang (38%). The intent of the temporary ban on project approvals is to  push project development southward. The halt corroborates with the trend to push wind power development away from Northern areas and towards the South.

Read more: China Cleantech Update March 03, 2017

News Summary:

  • CWEA publishes wind installation statistics for 2016
  • NEA publishes guiding opinion on energy work for 2017
  • Yingli Solar receives noncompliance notice from NYSE 

Wind: 2016 Solar Installation Statistics Published by the CWEA
China Wind Energy Association recently published new wind installation figures for 2016. New installations of wind dropped by 24% to 23 GW, down from 30 GW in 2015. This new installation of wind power brings the total installed capacity to 169 GW. Windy northwest provinces continued to attract the most amount of new capacity additions (26%), followed by the North China (Huabei) region (24%) and East China (Huadong) region (20%). Additionally, total offshore wind power capacity increased by 64%, with over 590 MW of new capacity installed in 2016, bringing the total offshore wind capacity to 1.6 GW. (ESCN)


Source: Azure International, CWEA

High curtailment in windy provinces is clearly making its mark on new installation patterns. While the resource-rich northwestern provinces still saw the largest share of new capacity additions at 26%, this was down from 2015's whopping 38%. In the face of congested transmission lines and high curtailment, developers are choosing to build closer to load centers, as evidenced by the eastern coastal region of Huadong seeing the largest percent increase in new capacity of any region.

Plan: Guiding Opinion on Energy Work for 2017 Published by NEA
According to the NEA's 2017 Guiding Opinion on Energy Work, by the end of 2017 China will install 20 GW of new wind capacity, with another 25 GW under construction. The document also calls for a gradual shift to developing wind in eastern coastal and southern provinces, as well as a short-term stay on building new wind power in provinces that have curtailment rates above 20%. Finally, the document also calls for the acceleration of offshore wind development. (BJX CN)

As made clear both by the CWEA wind statistics and the NEA's guiding opinions, the major story for wind in 2017 is China's increasing emphasis on developing wind generation sources closer to eastern and southern coastal load centers. This emphasis on developing wind proximal to load centers can be seen both in the increasing emphasis on offshore wind generation as well as the targets set out in the 13th Five Year Plan to shift development away from windy northern provinces to the south and east. 

Markets: NYSE  Issues Noncompliance Notice to Yingli Solar 
Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (NYSE: YGE) announced that the company had received notice from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Regulation  on February 9th, 2017. The notice stated that the company was below the continued listing standards of the NYSE, specifically that its average market capitalization over a 30 day period was below $50 million. Following the notice, Yingli has 90 days to present a plan to the NYSE demonstrating how it will regain compliance with NYSE's standards within 18 months. The plan will then be evaluated by the NYSE. If accepted, Yingli will be subject to quarterly reviews of its compliance progress. If the plan is not accepted, Yingli Green Energy will be subject to suspension and delisting procedures from the New York Stock Exchange, although the stock may continue trading in over-the-counter (OTC) markets. (PRNewswire)

Yingli modules at a 50 MW Datong solar farm

Source: Yingli Solar

This notice is not the first time Yingli has come into problems with the NYSE's continued listing standards, as the company faced the threat of delisting in November of 2015 as well, when its shares were trading below the $1 threshold for 20 consecutive days. Furthermore, according to Yingli's latest quarterly earnings report, for the third quarter 2016 Yingli suffered an operating loss of $34 million.

News Summary:

  • CEC publishes solar installation statistics for 2016
  • State Council publishes National Land Planning Outline 2016-2030
  • China Sunergy to build 400 MW solar module facility in California
  • Green certificate trading program trial rules issued by NDRC

Solar: 2016 Solar Installation Statistics Published by the CEC
The CEC recently published statistics on domestic solar installations for 2016. According to the document, by the end of 2016, over 34 GW of new solar energy had been installed across the country, bringing the total installed capacity to over 77 GW. Total power generation from solar in 2016 was 66 TWh, approximately 1% of national power generation. 28% of new installations occurred in the Northwest area comprising Shaanxi (217 GW), Gansu (76 GW), Ningxia (217 GW), Qinghai (119 GW) and Xinjiang (329 GW). (CEC)


Source: Azure International, CEC

As mentioned in last week's News Update, the frenzied growth in solar in 2016 is largely due to utility scale projects rushing to completion before the large tariff cut in June 2016. However under the Electricity Development Plan, the Solar Power target for 2020 further calls for 60 GW of distributed solar and 5 GW of concentrated solar, with the remaining 45 GW is assumed to be standard utility-scale solar. Thus we expect the next three years to see a moderate cooling of utility scale projects in China as local governments digest current project pipelines. 

On the other hand, current installation figures indicate distributed solar capacity in China is hovering at around only 10 GW. Therefore while the 2020 target of 110 GW target will likely be surpassed, it will be difficult for distributed solar to reach its sub-target of 60 GW, especially as the regions currently driving solar installation figures (Northwest and IMAR) are almost exclusively installing utility scale projects, with distributed projects concentrated more in highly populated east coast provinces. 

Read more: China Cleantech Update February 20, 2017


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