Environmental Development 21

Who Drives China’s Renewable Energy Policies? Understanding the Role of Industrial Corporations

Published on 3 November 2016

This paper investigates the rise of a policy community (PC) in China’s renewable energy sectors. After a decade of spectacular expansion of wind and solar energy industries, a PC that comprises both government and industrial actors is taking shape in China.

The main finding of this research is that influential corporations, such as leading wind turbine and solar panel manufacturers or state-owned electricity utility companies, have played an important role in the renewable energy policy process by framing the strategic preferences and policy priority, and by negotiating and coordinating with state actors at both central and local level. Therefore, in China’s climate governance domain, instead of a traditional perception of a state-led governance mode in which state officers are often believed to be the only crucial actors to steer climate-related policies, this study reveals that the government’s autonomy in the policy process is increasingly constrained by the rising industrial interest groups who possess considerable resources and institutional power in China’s renewable energy policy subsystem.


Wei Shen

Research Fellow

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published by
Shen, W.
Environmental Development, volume 21


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