Accelerate Global Energy Interconnection
Jointly Open up a New Chapter of China-Africa Energy and Power Cooperation

Keynote Speech at 2019 Global Energy Interconnection(GEI) & China-Africa Energy and Power Conference

(November 6, 2019, Beijing)

Liu Zhenya

Chairman of Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO)

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

Good morning!Today, more than 1000 guests, and friends both new and old from 79 countriesare gathered together in Beijing for the 2019 GEI & China-Africa Energy andPower Conference, to exchange views, share outcomes, renew our friendships and discusskey issues regarding GEI and African Energy Interconnection. The conference isof great significance to deepening China-Africa cooperation, advancing sustainabledevelopment of the world, promoting the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) andbuilding a community of shared future for mankind. It is the first of suchevent specialized in energy and power sector for China and Africa, which has gainedgenerous support from the Chinese government, African countries and all socialsectors. First of all, on behalf of GEIDCO, I would like to extend a warmwelcome to all distinguished guests present today,and express sincereappreciation to you for supporting GEI and China-Africa energy and powercooperation!

Ladies and gentlemen!

At present, human survival and development are threatened by manygrave global challenges, such as resource depletion, environmental pollution,climate change, poverty and health issues. The root cause is the excessivereliance on and massive consumption of fossil fuels. In particular, climatechange is getting worse by the day. Given the emission reduction commitmentsmade by countries, only 1/3 of the goal set in the Paris Agreement will beachieved. If this trend continues, the global temperature rise will exceed 3℃by the end of this century, exerting devastating effects on mankind. On the UNSustainable Development Summit held on September 26, 2015, Chinese President XiJinping put forward a Chinese approach to tackling global challenges andpromoting global energy transition and sustainable development of mankind byproposing discussions on establishing GEI, which is welcomed by theinternational community with widespread recognition and response.

GEI is an important platform for large-scaledevelopment, transmission and consumption of clean energy worldwide. Inessence, GEI is “Smart Grid + UHV Grid +Clean Energy”. Smart Grid is the foundation. UHV Grid is the key. CleanEnergy is the priority. Clean energy resources are quite abundant globally.However, they are not evenly distributed. Most regions rich in resources arefar away from demand centers, so they must rely on UHV transmission to achievelarge-scale allocation. China has worked tirelessly on UHV technology over thepast decade. To date, 24 UHV projects, or 10 AC and 14 DC UHV grids have beenput into operation. Another 8 UHV projects, 4 AC and 4 DC UHV grids are underconstruction. These efforts produce the world’s largest AC and DC hybrid UHVgrid, enable safe and efficient operation, and greatly boost clean energydevelopment in China. China has successfully applied its UHV technology toBrazil, helping the nation build double-circuit ±800 kV UHV DC lines.Developing GEI will prompt the energy system to realize thorough“de-carbonization”, help deliver on the 2℃ goal and even the 1.5℃ goalmentioned in the Paris Agreement withlow cost, small investment and optimal mitigation pathways, and offer atechnically feasible, economically competitive, feasible, duplicable andquantifiable systematic solution to accomplish the 17 goals of the UN 2030Agenda.

Over the past four years, with the generous support of the Chinesegovernment and the international community, we have pulled all efforts togetherto promote GEI to go global and evolve from a concept to an influentialpractice, with substantial achievements.First of all, we have built broad consensus. We have held more than 500 international conferences and activitiesworldwide; we have conducted all-rounded awarenesscampaigns about GEI targeting at many international organizations, andgovernment organs, enterprises, colleges and universities, research institutesand the public from over 100 countries; we have successfully incorporated GEIinto frameworks for promoting the BRI, the UN 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and global environmentalprotection, and addressing power access, poverty and health issues, whichexerts profound influence. Second, wehave mapped out a concrete development path. We have put forward theories like Two Replacements and Energy,Information and Transportation Integration (EITI)/“Bits, Watts & Meters”.To be more specific, we seek to use cleanalternatives in energy development, replacing fossil energy with hydro, solar,and wind energy, and promote electricity replacement in energy consumption, replacingcoal, oil, gas and diesel oil with clean electricity. At the same time, we willforge ahead with the integrated development of energy, information andtransportation, namely the EITI. We have delivered the Nine Horizontal and Nine Vertical Backbone Grids, planning researchreports on African, Asian, European, North American, Central and SouthAmerican, Oceanian, Northeast Asian, Southeast Asian, and BRI energyinterconnection, along with the GEITechnology & Equipment Innovation Outline, and GEI Standard System Research, as well as released dozens of majorachievements, which mark the completion of GEI top-level design and theemergence of a concrete development path. Third, we have energetically launched manyactivities. Dedicated to developingGEI in Africa, we have visited over 30 African countriesand exchanged in-depth views with over ten heads of state and government,dozens of ministerial-level officials, heads of regional organizations like theAfrican Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA),and heads of relevant enterprises and institutions, put forward the new modelof co-development of electricity, mining, metallurgy, manufacturing and trade,and worked passionately towards the establishment of the African EnergyInterconnection and Sustainable Development Alliance (AEISDA); we have also securedremarkable progress in grid interconnection projects for China-South Korea,China-Myanmar-Bangladesh, and Ethiopia and the Gulf countries. Fourth, we build on strength from across the globe. With up to 756 members, the membership network of GEIDCO reaches 106countries across the five continents. Wehave established close partnerships with international organizations, includingthe UN, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), AU,League of Arab States (LAS), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) andEuropean Union (EU) and relevant governments, enterprises and institutionsthrough 42 cooperation agreements, established the Advisory (Consultant) Boardand the Technical (Academic) Committee, published Global Energy Interconnection journals in both Chinese and Englishversions, and set up four alliances, namely GEI University Alliance, GEI ThinkTank Alliance, GEI Financial Alliance and GEI Equipment Alliance. In this way,GEIDCO develops a multi-layered global cooperation network.

GEI hasbecome a champion of global energy transition and clean development. It offersnew ideas and solutions to global sustainable development, and provides a broadplatform for all parties concerned to participate in international energycooperation. GEI plays an increasingly important role in the pursuit ofsustainable development and a community of shared future for mankind.

Ladies and gentlemen!

The UN Climate Action Summit 2019 has set agoal to reduce emissions by at least 45% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissionby 2050. It is pressing to accelerate global action. GEI promotes green andlow-carbon development, and promises a bright future, which is consistent withthe interests of all countries. Facing increasingly grimmer global challenges,we will continue to build consensus and increase synergy to press ahead withGEI into the future.

First, embracing development trend, we have deepened the understandingof GEI’s valuable pioneering role in promoting sustainable development. The essential pathway of global energy transition lies inaccelerating clean development, and the key to such transition calls fordeveloping GEI to create a modern energy system characterized by clean energyproduction, wide-area energy allocation and electrification of energyconsumption. With regard to clean energyproduction, we are going to develop a “clean energy-dominated” energysupply pattern to replace fossil fuels with clean alternatives, like hydro,wind and solar power in energy production and restore fossil fuels to theirbasic attribute as industrial raw materials, thus creating greater value. With respectto wide-area energy allocation, we willdevelop an optimal energy allocation pattern featuring large-scaleinterconnection and long-distance transmission to use the pivotal role of bulk grids in “energy storage across timeand spaceboundaries”, coordinate time-zone, seasonal, resource differences andvarying electricity prices and speed up the large-scale development andefficient use of centralized and distributed clean alternatives, such as hydro,wind and solar power. In view of electrification of energy consumption, we are going to forge an electric-centric energy consumption pattern to promote the extensive consumption of clean electricity inindustry, commercial, transport and residential sectors, raise electrificationrates across all social sectors, and promote sustainable development of mankindthrough electrofuels and raw materials.

Second, promoting innovation-driven development, we reinforce thefoundation of GEI. GEI is asystematic and groundbreaking project, involving energy, economy, politics,environment and many other sectors, so we must rely on and comprehensivelystrengthen innovation regarding strategic planning, project implementation,market operations, and technology and equipment. Regarding strategic planning, we should give priority to innovation in concept, models andplanning principles of energy development, attach greater importance to the exploitation, allocation andconsumption of clean energy and encourage all countries and regions involved todevelop and improve their energy and power development plans. Regarding project implementation, weshould create new business models based on the actual conditions of differentregions and continents, set up a global investment and financing platform withmultiple players and channels, advance market-based operations, speed up theimplementation of a group of mature clean energy and grid interconnectionprojects with remarkable benefits and thus play an exemplary role in theprocess. Regarding market operations, we should focus on new cross-border and intercontinental powertrading mechanisms, develop a flexible and efficient global electricity-carbonmarket, realize joint climate and energy governance and speed up cleandevelopment and carbon emission cuts globally. We have drawn a master plan for the global electricity-carbonmarket after careful research. Regarding technology and equipment, we should work on key technology and equipment innovations,including efficient power generation from clean sources, UHV submarine cableswith large capacity, UHV flexible DC, large-capacityenergy storage, large interconnected grid operation control and electricvehicles (EVs), to render robust support for GEI development.

Third, we need to pull all efforts together to further advance GEI development.The development of GEI can be divided into three phases, namelydomestic interconnection, intra-continental interconnection and globalinterconnection. By 2025, domestic gridinterconnection will be comprehensively strengthened and importantbreakthroughs will be made in cross-border grid interconnection; by 2035, intra-continental grid interconnection will be basically put inplace, led by Afro-Eurasian interconnection; by 2050, major interconnection channels between Afro-Eurasia andthe Americas will be set up. On this basis, the Arctic energy channel will be built to developglobal grid interconnection. At present, we have charted the ambitious blueprint of GEI, and we arewell-positioned to speed up the endeavor. In the future, we hope the UN and other international organizations, national governments,enterprises, institutions, and colleges and universities will strengthencooperation and pragmatic action to concertedly promote the innovation-drivendevelopment of GEI. Globally, informationnetwork and transportation network have achieved global interconnection. As wesecure more breakthroughs and advance the widespread application of keytechnologies, like UHV, smart grids and clean energy, we are set to embracesignificant breakthroughs in energy network. Full-heartedly and devotedly, wewill achieve GEI successfully for the benefit of the whole world andmankind!

Ladies and gentlemen!

China andAfrica enjoy a profound long-standing friendship. President Xi has reiteratedthat China will always be Africa’s good friend, good partner and good brother.Africa is home to abundant energy with huge development potential, but it is confrontedby fast-growing population and demand, and energy shortage. African EnergyInterconnection, an important part of GEI, offers an essential solution toAfrica’s sustainable energy development, and it is going to open up greatopportunities for Africa to achieve economic prosperity and advanceChina-Africa cooperation. Over the years, we have studies in-depth the resourceendowment, power supply and demand, and social and economic conditions ofAfrica. As a result, we have released AfricanEnergy Interconnection Planning Research Report, and put forward a newmodel of co-development of electricity, mining, metallurgy, manufacturing andtrade. We have visited over 30 African countries and profoundly exchanged viewswith over ten heads of state and government, dozens of ministerial-levelofficials, as well as heads of regional organizations and relevant enterprisesand institutions, including the African Union (AU) and UNECA (UnitedNations Economic Commission for Africa). They have demonstrated generoussupport for us. Africa should focus on three top priorities to accelerateenergy, and social and economic development:

First of all, the continent should speed up African EnergyInterconnection. At present, per capita power consumption of Africa is approximately 18% of theworld’s average level, and Africa’s average electricity price is as high as14US cents/kWh. Nearly 50% of its population lives without power access. Theseproblems impose stubborn constraints on Africa’s economic and social growth. Inview of resource endowment, the proven reserve of fossil fuels in Africa isonly 3.4% of the world’s total proven reserves; the technically availablepotential of hydro, solar and wind power totals 734,000 TWh per year,accounting for 39% of global total. These facts determine that Africa mustset the course for clean development, in order to address energy dilemma. Thekey is to develop African Energy Interconnection. Specifically, Africa shouldspeed up the development of large hydro, wind and solar power bases and variousdistributed electricity sources and strengthen different countries’ domesticgrid development, and cross-border and intercontinental grid interconnection,to forge “an expressway of electricity” across the continent, and ensure safe,economical, clean and sustainable power supply in African countries. The key to developing African EnergyInterconnection lies in capitalizing on the pioneering role of hydropower ofthe Congo River. The Congo River boastsextremely abundant hydroenergy. The installed capacity and the amount of annualpower generation of the section from downstream Kinshasa to the estuary canreach up to 110GW(giga watt) and 700TWh (terra watt hour) respectively,equivalent to five and seven Three Gorges Dam in China respectively. We putforward a master plan for the development and outbound delivery of thehydropower of downstream Congo River after extensive research. To be morespecific, the region should develop three cascade hydropower stations, namelyGrand Inga, Pioka and Matadi. While meeting local power demand, the regionshould send hydropower to West Africa, North Africa, East Africa and southernAfrica via 11-circuit UHV DC lines, with a total transmission capacity of 83GW.The annual transmission capacity will reach 500TWh. In this way, all parts ofAfrican can benefit from clean electricity. Accelerating hydropower developmentin downstream Congo River also gives full play to the balancing role ofhydropower to promote the large-scale development of renewables like solar andwind power. By 2050, a total of 1300GW of power will be installed in Africa,approximately 80% of which will come from clean sources. The cost of powerconsumption will be halved; all people will gain access to power; the goal ofsustainable energy for all will be accomplished.

Second, Africa should speed up the co-development of electricity,mining, metallurgy, manufacturing and trade. African Energy Interconnection is a project with huge costs. Given limited investment and guarantee ability of many Africancountries, and technological and market constraints, it was difficult to raisefunds and start large projects, including power projects in Africa. In responseto this predicament, we have put forward a new model of co-developmentof electricity, mining, metallurgy, manufacturing and trade. The model seeks to integrate Africa’sadvantages of clean energy and mineral resources to forge an industrial chainfeaturing the coordinated development of electricity, mining, metallurgy,manufacturing and trade. It will then safeguard the development and productionat mines, metallurgy bases and various industrial parks with sufficient andeconomically competitive clean electricity, promote export to shift fromprimary products to high value-added products and then give rise to a virtuouscycle of “investment- development - production - export - reinvestment”. The model will comprehensively boost the scale, quality andefficiency of Africa’s economic growth. Based on desirable expectations ofproject profits, the model encourages power generation enterprises,transmission enterprises and consumers to sign tri-party agreements, and thusforms a community of interests where profits and risks are shared with mutualsupport. It seeks financing from banks, financial groups and social capital onthe basis of projects’ intrinsic value, funds of enterprises and credit. Inthis way, it effectively reduces risks, removes concerns over funds, marketsand government guarantee, and ensures the smooth implementation of projects.The model will change the solo and un-coordinated way of enterprises andindustries fending on their own in the past, leverage complementarity amongdifferent countries and enable joint industrial development and cross-bordercollaboration, which will boost economic growth and industrial upgrading inAfrica and create new jobs. By 2050, the total value of electrolytic aluminum,steel and other metallurgy and processing industries in Africa will exceedUSD480 billion, and the export value of mineral products will exceed USD100billion, creating more than 100 million new jobs.

Third, we urgently need a cooperation platform for pursuing sharedgrowth via mutual consultaton and collaboration. Building African Energy Interconnection and promoting theco-development of electricity, mining,metallurgy, manufacturing and trade call for concerted efforts to deepen cooperation.During the 2018 Beijing Summit of FOCAC (the Forum on China-AfricaCooperation), GEIDCO and the Government of Guinea signed a joint initiative toco-initiate the African Energy Interconnection and Sustainable DevelopmentAlliance (AEISDA). Seeking to develop a clean, industrialized, electrified andintegrated Africa, the AEISDA is going to establish a cooperation platform forgovernments, enterprises and financial institutions to align their policies,integrate resources, raise funds and implement projects. It will play animportant role in enhancing China-Africa exchanges and dialogue and advancingthe BRI with synergy. Currently, more than 20 countries and over 80internationally-renowned enterprises and institutions have applied to join theAEISDA. We welcome more African countries, and international enterprises andinstitutions to join the initiative with open arms, so as to jointly advanceAfrican Energy Interconnection.

In short, leveraging the platform of theAEISDA, accelerating the development of African Energy Interconnection andpromoting the co-development of electricity, mining, metallurgy, manufacturingand trade offer a package solution to deepen China-Africa cooperation andpromote sustainable development of Africa, and make significant andlong-lasting contributions to a green, prosperous, peaceful and happy newAfrica and a more tightly woven community of shared future for China andAfrica.

Ladies and gentlemen!

Building African Energy Interconnection and GEI is an ambitiousundertaking that benefits the people of Africa and mankind at large. Let’s makeconcerted efforts to drive the innovative development of energy across theglobe and make greater contributions to closer China-Africa cooperation, theBRI and the building of a community of shared future for mankind!

Thank you!