An employee checks photovoltaic panels at a production facility in Suqian, Jiangsu province, in May. [Photo/Xinhua]

Electricite de France said China’s energy transition has brought numerous opportunities for the Paris-based utility company in terms of both energy services and the development of renewable energy including wind, solar and nuclear power.

While competition in the Chinese renewable energy market is quite intense, EDF has been stepping up innovation investment to further strengthen its research and development capabilities and serve the needs of growing industries in the country, said Fabrice Fourcade, EDF China chairman and EDF Group vice-president.

Du Wenhui, EDF R&D China center director, said technology research and innovation have been playing a key role in China’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions as the nation has vowed to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and realize carbon neutrality by 2060.

EDF hopes to further strengthen its cooperation and relations with innovative Chinese companies to jointly bring more projects to operational stages in China as well as in Europe, Du said.

He made the remarks during the EDF Pulse Awards China held in May-an award that helps Chinese startups use new technological solutions to make electric power generation more eco-friendly and better connected.

According to Fourcade, EDF’s business in China is mostly in the renewable and nuclear sectors. It seeks to help clients reduce energy consumption, boost energy efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions, all of which are in accordance with the country’s energy transition.

The country’s ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 has presented numerous opportunities for multinational corporations, said Tang Sisi, an analyst at research firm BloombergNEF, adding that international firms have been stepping up efforts to align their core businesses with market demand in China.

Wei Hanyang, a power market analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said EDF has deep ties in China, using Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) technology to build and operate a nuclear power plant in Guangdong-the industrial heartland of China.

“It serves as a global pioneer for EDF tests, while serving for the surging customer needs locally. Meanwhile, as an operator in China, EDF also needs to consider how to improve cost competitiveness under the constraint of work safety,” Wei said.

Among the first batch of foreign companies to enter China to help the country develop its nuclear energy infrastructure, EDF believes there is tremendous space for further cooperation with Chinese partners in the sector, even though China is among the world’s leaders in nuclear technologies.

China also expressed earlier that it is still seeking international cooperation and we are willing to jointly develop clean energy in the country,” Fourcade said.

Taishan nuclear power plant, led by Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co (TNPJVC), a company founded by China’s State-owned China General Nuclear Power Group (51 percent), EDF (30 percent) and Guangdong Energy Group (19 percent), is the biggest cooperation project to have been signed between China and France in the energy sector.

Taishan’s two reactors are capable of supplying the Chinese power grid with up to 24 terawatt-hours of carbon dioxide-free electricity each year, EDF said.

After 35 years of development in China, EDF highly values cooperation with local Chinese partners, and enjoys deep cooperation with pillar industries in the country including energy services, renewable energy and nuclear energy. It has also been expanding cooperation with local players in newly developed sectors, including hydrogen, smart grids and electric vehicles.

The cooperation has also expanded from State-owned grid companies and utilities to private firms as well as research and educational institutes in recent years, said the company.

It has also been paying close attention to China’s investment fund market, while looking for potential partners seeking possible cooperation through its office in China.

The company’s Electranova Capital, a venture capital fund that works with entrepreneurs to build global businesses in new energy and environmental technologies, sees most of the investment in Europe. EDF added that it is looking forward to more investment landing in China in the years to come.