Nexans supporting China’s green energy revolution

With China expanding many programs to achieve “dual carbon” goals and high-quality development, Nexans, a global player in energy transition, is banking on the country”s fast-growing energy, smart manufacturing, city and transportation sectors to achieve robust growth.

Many opportunities have arisen from the massive transformation of China’s power sector including market structure reforms, an accelerated shift from coal to green power, and more grid investment such as energy storage. This will create huge market space for Nexans to drive growth in the country, said Donny Yu, president and CEO of Nexans Greater China.

“Power grid and offshore wind market segments will be our priorities, because of the long-term trend of increasing demand in electricity. Demographic trends, changing consumer preferences and policy drivers at both China’s national level and the European level are expected to see electricity consumption grow by more than 60 percent over the next two decades,” he said.

The executive said it is not only urban grids that are changing. Big changes are also happening at sea. Subsea cables are redrawing the energy map, linking wind farms to the land and connecting nations to each other.

Nexans has just unveiled the new cable harness production facility for the offshore wind industry in Tianjin. The facility will increase Nexans’ production capacity in China to contribute to increasing renewable energy production in the country’s energy mix and bolster the high-quality development of China’s clean energy value chain.

Meanwhile, the group has strengthened its involvement in China’s fast-paced nuclear new build program by gaining a large contract from State-owned China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation to supply specialized nuclear cables for two new projects, namely the No 7 and No 8 power units at the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, and the No 3 and No 4 power units at the Xudabu Nuclear Plant in Huludao, Liaoning province.

As 2021 marks the beginning of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), Yu said that innovation is expected to be the key policy focus. The ongoing energy transformation in China and its carbon neutrality pledge present opportunities for foreign companies like Nexans.

Since traditional energy-intensive methods can no longer sustain the high-quality development of the world’s second-largest economy, the Chinese government has adopted a new growth engine restructuring the economy using green technologies.

The country has further improved its policy framework for achieving climate-related goals, including unveiling a master working guideline in October that aims to elevate energy efficiency to an advanced international level and lift non-fossil energy consumption to over 80 percent of its total by 2060.

“Our innovation will run through the entire electrification value chain from generation and transmission to distribution and usages during the period of 2021-2024, helping customers make the energy transition smoother, faster and more cost-effective, ensuring the safety of the future energy system, reducing electricity costs, and maintaining energy sustainability,” said Yu.

Due to its relatively hard-to-meet power supply demand by only using conventional ways of power transmission, or relying on traditional technology to increase transmission capacity, Yu said that mega cities in China need high load density in electricity and have higher requirements for power supply and transmission than other areas.

Under such circumstances, he said Nexans, as a global leader in high temperature superconductor technology for power grid applications, is eager to introduce such an efficient technology into China, because superconductor cables increase the delivered power supply by using existing ducts at lower voltage levels and without any joule loss.

This eliminates the need for disruptive civil engineering works and minimizes the land occupied by transformer stations.

Supported by more than 25,000 employees in 38 countries and regions across the world, Nexans saw its sales revenue amount to 5.7 billion euros ($6.61 billion) and operating margin reach 193 million euros in 2020, according to information released by the Courbevoie, France-headquartered group.

Apart from expanding its production capacity in China, Yu said the company is working closely with leading mobile network carriers and equipment vendors to develop new infrastructure solutions that will help mobile operators meet the challenge of rolling out 5G coverage, both outdoors and indoors, as quickly and cost-efficiently as possible.

“Industry 4.0 has been on Nexans’ agenda for the last four years. The long-term goal is to be able to use all of a factory’s available data and settings to manage the manufacturing base in real time and improve performance,” he said.

The group has already embraced digitalization at some of its sites, using 3D printing, big data and virtual reality, and selecting some of its profit drivers and leading factories for a pilot program.

To take its digital journey to the next level, Nexans has partnered with Schneider Electric on a joint pilot program, which is set to deliver results by the autumn of 2021, with the aim of reaping the benefits at all the group’s industrial sites worldwide.

These include an up to 80 percent reduction in maintenance time by implementing predictive maintenance solutions as well as a 15 percent cut in energy costs.

While many countries are seeking practical measures to mitigate the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and put their economic growth on a firmer footing, Yu said that the ongoing fourth China International Import Expo, held in Shanghai from Nov 5 to Nov 10, has great significance for foreign companies to better reach their customers, expand market channels and identify potential investment opportunities, as well as boost innovation.

“The CIIE has been successful on all three previous occasions and has become an international forum for the world to share,” he said.

“Supported by the CIIE, China has taken the initiative to expand imports and pool resources around the world for high-quality development.”

The continuously improving business environment offers huge opportunities for multinational corporations to expand their global footprint and optimize the capacity and agility of their supply chains. Nexans is honored to witness the progress and take advantage of the favorable policies and environment, he added.

Against a backdrop of a sharp decline in global cross-border direct investment, there has been significant growth in foreign direct investment in China. Global capital inflows into the country surged 19.6 percent year-on-year to 859.5 billion yuan ($134.33 billion) during the first three quarters of this year, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.

Despite the pandemic-induced turbulence in the market and the faltering global economic recovery, China will continue to attract foreign investors in the coming years, thanks to its strong economic recovery and resilience, huge and lucrative market and its concerted efforts to improve the business environment, said Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.

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