The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe
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Europe-China Clean Energy Centre (EC2)

Implementation period:
2010–2015

Financial Support:
Co-funded by the European Commission and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS)

Europe-China Clean Energy Centre (EC2)

“The extensive use of fossil energy is placing increasingly obvious constraints on economic and social development, and its impact on the global environment necessary to human survival is more and more apparent. Since the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, greenhouse gas emissions have become a major issue on the international political and economic agenda, and the use of innovative technologies to scale up the development and utilisation of new and renewable energy has attracted attention worldwide. China, like many other countries, has been setting some impressive and ambitious goals in relation to the development of new and renewable energies and can already claim some remarkable achievements.”

Bai Mai, Associate Professor in the Department of Energy Economic Research of the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Background
As China has recently emerged as the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in absolute terms, it is also committed to playing a role in reducing global GHG emissions. For its part, the European Union is highly committed to taking actions aimed at protecting the globe from the severe impacts of climate change that are already apparent. The EU initiated a five-year project in April 2010 to enhance cooperation between the EU and China in the field of energy, with the ambitious goal of promoting the increased uptake of clean energy in China and to support the Chinese Government’s efforts to build a more efficient, sustainable and environment-friendly energy sector.

The Europe-China Clean Energy Centre (EC2) offers an innovative platform that will benefit all stakeholders active in the field of clean and renewable energy sources, including Chinese and European institutions, companies, researchers and the public.

The project, which has funding of over EUR 12 million, was officially launched on April 30, 2010. The opening ceremony in Beijing was chaired by Jose Manuel Barroso, then president of the EU, and Zhang Guobao, vice president of the National Development and Reform Commission and the then director of the Chinese National Energy Administration.

The EC2 consortium comprises nine partners (six European and three Chinese): the Polytechnic University of Turin (Polito) (project coordinator); the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (IIE/CASS); Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA); Chalmers University of Technology; the Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change (CMCC); the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (ERI/NRDC); the REC; Tsinghua University; and the University of Calabria.

Activities
Hosted in the Sino-Italian Environment and Energy-Efficient Building (sister building to REC Conference Center) at the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering of Tsinghua University, Beijing, EC2 acts as a hub of excellence, providing support to key energy sector players in both China and Europe.

The project consortium partners have carried out wide-ranging activities, including setting up a database on clean energy technologies for use in fostering technology transfer, as well as opening up market opportunities between partners.

An EC2 pilot study carried out in Urumqi (the largest city in China’s western interior) focused on energy efficiency, emissions reductions and circular economy models. The pilot project supported a variety of activities related to energy supply to cities, innovative energy production and city planning methodologies, while also promoting exchanges of experience with European cities via twinning, joint workshops and e-learning courses.

EC2 assists Chinese and European institutions in shaping clean energy policies through sectoral advisory reports. One of its most important activities is its contribution to the EU-China Energy Cooperation Roadmap, which will be presented at the EU-China Summit in 2015.

Capacity building, information dissemination and awareness raising are also crucial elements of the project. Related activities include organising seminars and training courses for Chinese institutions; and developing promotional and educational materials, a video toolkit, a dedicated website and newsletter (Clean Energy Perspectives) — all published in both Chinese and English.

Impact
During the five-year project, EC2 has helped to:

  • advance and increase knowledge about clean energy technologies among a wide range of stakeholders in China, and among local government officials in particular;
  • raise awareness of clean energy technologies in several regions in China;
  • improve cooperation between China and the EU at both national and institutional level; and
  • enhance market opportunities for businesses.

The project database on clean energy technologies, and the series of EC2 events, workshops, trainings and study tours, have had an impact on a huge number of people. The e-learning course organised by the REC, for example, was broadcast in eight regions in China, reaching over 200 participants in each region.

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