A few days ago, a strong sandstorm swept across most parts of northern China, causing the most intense and wide-ranging sandstorm process in China in the past 10 years. In Mongolia, the source of this dusty weather, the local people have experienced a catastrophe. In fact, Mongolia is not indifferent to environmental issues. Clean energy projects including wind power and photovoltaics are also being constructed. Given the pressure of the current global environmental protection situation and the country’s government will continue to implement green development policies, clean energy is expected to continue to present opportunities for cooperation in this northern neighboring country.
“Saleshit” means “windy place”
In recent days, the strong dust and snowstorms in Mongolia have become the focus of attention of the local media and ordinary people. Since the 13th, 51 counties in more than ten provinces, including South Gobi, Central Gobi, and Houhangai, have experienced strong dust and snowstorms not seen in many years. As of 13:00 on the 16th, 10 people have been killed in this extreme weather. According to statistics from the General Administration of Emergency Situations of Mongolia, strong dust and snowstorms caused property damage to some herders, and at least thousands of livestock were swept away and frozen to death. The destruction of power lines in the three western provinces of Mongolia caused temporary interruptions in power supply in some areas.
The capital, Ulaanbaatar, has several light or heavy sandstorms every year. In May 2008, there was also a strong sandstorm similar to the past few days. The frequent occurrence of sand and dust weather is inseparable from the continuous deterioration of the country’s natural environment. Due to global warming and excessive development, Mongolia’s environmental problems have become increasingly prominent. 70% of the country’s land is facing varying degrees of desertification and desertification, and there is a trend of continuous expansion.
In fact, the Mongolian government is not indifferent to environmental issues. There is a “green development policy” in the policy program of the Mongolian People’s Party government established in July 2020, including environmental protection, air pollution control in Ulaanbaatar, reduction of environmental damage caused by mineral development, and protection of water resources. In addition, renewable energy projects such as wind and solar energy have long been supported by the government.
In early June 2013, about 70 kilometers away from Ulaanbaatar, to participate in the grid-connected power generation ceremony of the “Salhit” (Mongolian meaning “windy place”) wind power plant. This is Mongolia’s first wind power plant, with 31 wind turbines and an installed capacity of 50 MW. After the power plant is put into operation, it can provide daily electricity for about 100,000 residents, save 190,000 tons of coal, 1.6 million tons of water each year, and reduce 180,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Mongolia also enjoys the reputation of “the country of blue sky” because of its abundant solar energy resources. In January 2017, Mongolia’s first large-scale solar power plant was connected to the grid to generate electricity. The power plant was constructed by Darhan International Solar Energy Co., Ltd. in cooperation with Japan’s Sharp and Shigeko Co., Ltd., with an installed capacity of 10 MW and an annual power generation capacity of 15.2 million kWh. The commissioning of the power plant can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 14,000 tons per year.
Under the current background that green environmental protection has become the consensus of all countries in the world, Mongolia’s continued adherence to the green development policy is expected to become a high probability event. In this regard, Chinese companies that have accumulated considerable technology and experience may wish to look to the north.
Japan and South Korea can help
South Korea was also affected by this sandstorm. South Korea’s “Joongang Ilbo” said on the 16th that within two days from the 16th, the Ministry of Environment of South Korea raised the warning of sandstorm crisis in 11 cities including Seoul to the “concern” level. There are also South Korean media calling for China and South Korea to cooperate in solving environmental problems. South Korea’s KBS TV station reported that last year there was a discussion about smog between China and South Korea due to the new crown epidemic
Discontinued, but now it’s time to re-cooperate and substantially improve air quality.
The South Korean government is also vigorously promoting green energy. In July 2020, when the President Moon Jae-in of South Korea visited the Wind Core Technology Research Center in Buan County, Jeollabuk-do, he said that converting coal energy into green and clean energy is the starting point of the “Green New Deal”. The government will vigorously cultivate the energy and environmental protection industry and thoroughly Transform the national energy system. Moon Jae-in also designated offshore wind power as a key cultivation project, saying that he would give full play to South Korea’s geographical advantages of being surrounded by the sea on three sides and become one of the world’s five largest wind power countries by 2030. On February 18, 2021, the South Korean government convened the “National Policy Review and Adjustment Meeting” and decided to popularize more than 7 million new energy vehicles by 2030. The South Korean government also plans to substantially expand infrastructure such as charging piles, extend the preferential tax policies for new energy vehicles, and reduce vehicle costs through the development of battery leasing services. There is the possibility of cooperation between China and South Korea in the above-mentioned areas, and the new technologies produced can also enter third-party markets such as Mongolia.
Japan, which is also sensitive to air pollution, also has opportunities for clean energy cooperation. Based on the reality of resource-poor island countries, energy issues have always been an important part of Japan’s national development plan. Therefore, the layout and planning of the Japanese government and enterprises in terms of clean energy are worth discussing and learning from.
In March 2020, in Nange Town, 10 kilometers away from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Station, a super-large renewable energy hydrogen production base covering an area of 220,000 square meters and an annual production of 9 million tons of hydrogen, “Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Base (FH2R) ) “Formal operation. The “Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Base” uses solar energy as the mainstay and wind as the auxiliary method to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis. The whole process has achieved “zero carbon emission”, and currently produces 30,000 cubic meters of hydrogen per day.
The pace of cooperation between Japan and China on the use of hydrogen energy has never stopped. In 2019, at the 13th China-Japan Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Comprehensive Forum, representatives of the governments and enterprises of the two countries reached an all-round strategic cooperation agreement. In June 2020, Toyota Motor signed a cooperation agreement with China FAW, Dongfeng Motor, BAIC, Guangzhou Automobile, Beijing Yihuatong Technology, etc. to jointly develop vehicle fuel cell systems and promote the construction of a hydrogen energy society.
In addition to bringing in, there is also going out. At the just-concluded “17th World Smart Energy Week (Tokyo)”. They have been deeply involved in the field of clean energy in Japan, combined with the characteristics of the Japanese market, and used new technologies to reduce module costs, and made considerable progress in photovoltaics and other fields.
Won’t be smooth sailing
Unlike the Japanese government’s control of the traditional energy sector, the entry conditions for the clean energy sector are relatively low and the feasibility is high. Of course, the Japanese market is closed and exclusive. Therefore, it is difficult to achieve more obvious economic results in the short term. Whether it can conform to the laws of the market and “keep the clouds open and see the moon and tomorrow” is a test that every entry must go through. .
In South Korea, some experts pointed out that although the South Korean government has drawn up many blueprints for green energy, given that the current government has only one year left, it is still unknown whether these long-term plans can be implemented in the future. At the same time, the closed nature of South Korea’s domestic market also makes foreign companies face numerous obstacles to enter the new energy market.
If you want to get involved in clean energy in Mongolia, it will not be smooth sailing either. Although the country advocates green development and the government also implements policies to support renewable energy, there are also certain problems in the specific implementation process. A friend has a solar energy project in Central Province, but the approval process is relatively cumbersome and has not been approved for more than three consecutive years. Originally, he wanted to transfer the project and approached a Chinese-funded enterprise person, but in the end he could not negotiate. This Chinese-funded enterprise person told reporters that Mongolia’s renewable energy policy is unstable, which discourages some investors. “For example, sometimes it is called a halt and the electricity bill is not settled in time. Ulaanbaatar’s central power grid is not short of electricity, and it is difficult for the western provinces to pass the electricity. These situations are all for investors. It is a risk that needs to be faced.