Department of Geography and Resource Management (GRM), The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Research Collaborations

Wind or Solar? The Political Economy of Fuel Competition between Renewables

Prof. XU Yuan



Tihomir Ancev (Sydney), Anatole Boute (CUHK), Chunbo Ma (UWA), Peter G. Taylor (Leeds), Chu Wei (RUC), Armida Alisjahbana (UNPAD), Gilles Lepesant (CNRS), Rainer Quitzow (IASS), Hideaki Shiroyama (Tokyo), David Victor (UCSD)

Project period:

Jan 2018 – Dec 2018

Funding source:

Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Research Development Fund

Funded amount:

£10,000 (plus £10,002 matching fund)


The Paris Agreement is the most comprehensive international treaty on climate change. Almost all countries around the world have signed and many have ratified it to witness its swift entry into force on November 4th, 2016, merely 11 months after its negotiation. For fulfilling the mitigation goals of individual countries, the replacement of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) with renewable energy plays a critical role. With a rapid expansion of renewables in the past decade to occupy an increasingly important share in energy mix, the conventional fuel competition between fossil fuels and renewables is gradually evolving to include a competition between different types of renewables. Wind and solar are the two dominant non-hydro renewables in many countries. Competition and choice between them are driven by complicated political economy processes, not simply technological and economic optimum. Through comparing major countries/regions with significant renewable energy development, including Asia (China and Japan), Australia, Europe (United Kingdom, Germany and France), and North America (United States), this project aims to reach a deep understanding on the fuel competition between renewables, specifically wind and solar, from the perspective of political economy. We organized a workshop on the “Political Economy of Energy Transition toward Renewables” on October 31st, 2018. The presented papers were later published in a special issue with an international peer reviewed journal, Energy Policy.