Officials sign agreements at the expo for 29 large investment projects, involving 26.7 billion yuan ($3.98 billion) in total pledged investment. [Photo by Hu Xuguang for China Daily]

The 2020 China (Taiyuan) International Energy Industry Expo was held on Oct 20-22.

This year's expo, hosted by Shanxi province, moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All the events, including exhibitions, forums, trade talks and agreement signing ceremonies, were held online.

"This year's expo should be the most impressive in its history of eight sessions," said Lu Dongliang, vice-governor of Shanxi province.

"It is an unforgettable event not because it is the only online session but because it is poised to be a long-lasting expo with exhibitions and exchanges continuing for a whole year since today," the official said at the opening ceremony on Oct 20.

Nearly 140 companies from over 40 countries including the United States, Germany and Japan, as well as 253 domestic companies took part in the event. Agreements for 29 large investment projects were signed, involving 26.7 billion yuan ($3.98 billion) in total pledged investment, according to expo organizers.

With the slogan of "energy revolution, international cooperation and green development", this year's event highlighted the renewable energy sector.

Omar Paganini, Uruguay's minister of industry, energy and mining, said at an online forum that Uruguay is willing to share its experience in renewable energy development with China.

The official said Uruguay launched reform in the power sector in 2010 and now 90 percent of the country's electricity comes from renewables.

Delegates to the expo agreed that developing renewables is a trend in the global energy industry and Shanxi's performance in the sector could be felt in the past and current sessions of the expo.

Liu Ke, an expert from Southern University of Science and Technology based in Shenzhen, said he noticed Shanxi's efforts in developing hydrogen and methanol energies.

In August, the provincial capital of Taiyuan began to add hydrogen-fueled vehicles to its fleet of buses.

With zero emissions and high efficiency, hydrogen fuel represents a breakthrough in new energy development for vehicles. Using its local hydrogen resources converted from coke and coal bed methane, Shanxi is planning to step up the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles, according to local officials and industry insiders.

Wang Yuanyang, a professor with Taiyuan University of Science and Technology, said Shanxi has developed more options to replace its traditional energy sources such as coal.

"With a substantial increase in wind and solar energy, Shanxi has seen a steady decrease in coal-fired electricity," Wang said.

According to the Shanxi Provincial Energy Administration, recently built new-energy power plants added 1.72 megawatts of installed capacity to Shanxi's power sector during the first half of this year. These plants pushed the province's total new-energy power generation capacity to 25.11 million kilowatts.

Guo Yanjie contributed to this story.