The Political Economy for Low-carbon Energy Transition in China: Towards a New Policy Paradigm?

Journal Article

China has become the leading country to develop wind and solar energy industries. By presenting the institutional arrangement and interest constellations of China’s regulatory system of renewable energy sectors, this paper argues that the reasons for China’s swift expansion of wind and solar energy investment go beyond the notion of a state-led model. It also reveals that due to a series of internal power struggles and external shocks, the current regulatory system is undergoing significant restructuring. A new policy paradigm is emerging that is largely different from the previous decades of policy orientation that centred on capacity expansion and instrumental interests for renewable energy development. The new paradigm would face tremendous challenges from existing institutions and vested interests, and it requires new set of ideologies that can help renewable energy sector to truly competing with the energy incumbents in order to bring about meaningful low carbon energy transition in China.