ICA Supports China’s Sustainable Development and Carbon Neutrality Goals

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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS)

Energy

Investment in Sustainable Operations

SDG #9

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

SDG #11

Sustainable Cities and Communities

SDG #17

Partnerships for the Goals

Share Resource:

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS)

Energy

Investment in Sustainable Operations

SDG #9

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

SDG #11

Sustainable Cities and Communities

SDG #17

Partnerships for the Goals

Governments and industries worldwide are urgently working to address the severity of climate change. As the world’s largest carbon emitter, China has pledged to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 in accordance with the Paris Agreement targets.

Alongside government commitments, the International Copper Association (ICA) has been doing its part to advance low-carbon systems and technology, maximizing copper’s natural recyclability and electrical conductivity to contribute to sustainable and energy-efficient development. Through a multi-pronged approach, ICA is working with both government and industry on a series of initiatives to further bolster the copper industry’s role in meeting China’s climate targets.

ICA’s Active Government and Stakeholder Engagement in China

ICA has become a close partner of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in promoting green technologies, low-carbon policies and energy-efficient products.

Among its recent engagements, ICA was appointed as the primary sponsor of the National Transformer Energy Efficiency Improvement Forum (2021-2023) held in Shenyang. Over 260 representatives from key domestic utility providers (the State Grid, China Southern Power Grid), steel giants (Baowu Steel Group and Shougang Steel Group), prominent universities and the country’s top 100 transformer manufacturers were in attendance.

In September 2021, ICA was invited to participate in another MIIT-hosted forum for the third BRICS New Industrial Revolution Partnership where Anthony Lea, ICA’s President, reiterated the Association’s commitment to assisting China’s copper industry with meeting sustainable development and carbon neutrality goals.

Promoting Energy-Efficient Transformers

In July, the MIIT launched its “T100 initiative” to expand the capacity of high-efficiency transformers by 1.5 billion kVA by 2023, a 75 percent capacity increase from a 2020 baseline. The MIIT’s initiative will also reduce power consumption by about 10.5 billion kWh, which is equivalent to a reduction of 64 million tonnes of CO2.

To support the energy-efficient transformer upgrading campaign, ICA has been ramping up its efforts in two major areas.

  1. ICA has been promoting copper’s essential role in low-carbon technologies through education initiatives, further solidifying copper’s position as an essential raw material for China’s green development. Copper winding wires, used in transformers, emit only one tenth of the carbon emissions of aluminium wires. The high-density copper transformers are expected to require an additional 30,700 tonnes of copper over the three-year initiative.
  2. ICA has also been working to accelerate the replacement of older, inefficient transformers. According to Wu Baozhong, the former chairman of the board of supervisors of key state-owned large enterprises, 11 million units will be replaced. Six million of these are older transformers.

Currently, copper transformers are used in almost 100 percent of China’s power grid. The three-year replacement of old transformers is expected to require about 1.32 million tonnes of copper. In addition, copper transformers account for a 75 percent market share of the renewable energy market and a 33 percent market share of the building construction sector in China.

Clean Energy Requires Copper

China’s green strategy relies on an accelerated adoption of clean energy. China aims for renewable power to account for over half of total energy supply by 2025 to facilitate the country’s emissions goals.

With copper’s excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, ICA has continued to promote copper’s role in the energy transition and support further work on new applications of copper-related technologies for energy-saving power generation systems such as solar, wind and hydropower.

ICA Develops Standards for Efficient Recycling

China is the world’s largest user of copper, and recycling plays a vital role in its resource security. In turn, copper recycling is a major pillar for economic growth and achieving China’s net-zero goals. Data shows that the amount of copper recycled in China has increased from about 300,000 tonnes in 2000 to 3 million tonnes in 2019.

To shorten recycling processes and increase efficiency, ICA has been collaborating with China’s copper industry and recycling firms to draft standards for recycling electrical equipment. Simultaneously, ICA has been working to increase the recyclability of reclaimed copper in partnership with the China Association of Circular Economy to help meet China’s growing demand for copper.

ICA Research Supports Sustainable Development

ICA is conducting a life cycle analysis on the copper industry covering six major phases (mining, smelting and refining, semi-fabrication, product manufacture, application, and recycling).The analysis will help speed up the construction of a green manufacturing system.

Additionally, ICA has partnered with four domestic copper companies to conduct a study on the life cycle assessment of Chinese copper cathodes. The study results provide strong technical support for the copper companies to advance innovation in manufacturing. ICA is engaged in research on copper processed products. Results from the first study—on copper rods—will be published in 2021.

The road to achieving carbon neutrality is long and not without its challenges, but ICA is steadfast in its mission to play a prominent role in green innovation and development for China’s carbon-neutral future.

 

About the International Copper Association

The International Copper Association (ICA) brings together the global copper industry to develop and defend markets for copper and make a positive contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., ICA has offices in three primary regions: Asia, Europe and North America. ICA and its Copper Alliance® partners are active in more than 60 countries worldwide

26 January 2022

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