US Officials Warn Against China's Control of Clean Energy Supply Chain

US Officials Warn Against China's Control of Clean Energy Supply Chain
Photo by Andreas Gücklhorn / Unsplash

Officials from Biden’s administration cautioned leaders of the American clean energy transition to speed up their decarbonization efforts and avoid allowing China to dominate the supply chain, Reuters reported on Thursday, March 9.

"It's just clear, to say it directly, that China has too much of a chokehold on critical minerals, on critical processing and upstream technologies, and solar," White House energy adviser John Podesta said at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston voicing the growing concern.

He and other U.S. officials that spoke on the panel cited how Europe's historic reliance on Russian fuel has backfired in the region amid the war in Ukraine when Moscow cut natural gas supplies to European countries.

As energy costs surged, Europe's industries and consumers had to reduce their energy usage, resulting in governments and utility companies frantically seeking out alternative sources of energy.

"We need to make sure the supply chains are secure, that we don't have a repeat of what we saw with the Russian chokehold on fossil fuels," Podesta added.

The Biden administration has been promoting investments in domestic clean energy manufacturing, with the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year offering substantial incentives in the form of hundreds of billions of dollars to companies that establish new projects within the United States, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, China, already a world leader in renewable energy expansion has ramped up its efforts in scaling up clean energy, adding new projects almost as fast as the rest of the world combined, CNBC reported. China has surpassed its coal power capacity with renewable energy for the first time.

Some participants at CERAWeek’s panel said the U.S. cannot become completely independent from China and the energy industry of the future requires the collaboration of the world's two largest economies, leveraging their industrial and political power.