China was angered when the International Energy Agency recently named the country the world’s biggest energy user and emitter of carbon dioxide.
But the world’s most populous nation is also a leader in renewable energies.
Global research company REN 21 – a network of governments, non-government organizations, and industry associations – reports China’s total wind power doubled for the fifth year in a row in 2008, ending that year producing 12 gigawatts and passing its 2010 development target of 10 gigawatts two years early. Solar and water power generation are also being rapidly expanded.
The IEA’s Birol agrees that when it comes to going green, China is another world leader.
“I am following the energy policies of almost all the big countries of the world, and there is no other government which is as dynamic as the Chinese government in putting energy policies in place,” Birol said.
Guanting Wind Farm security supervisor Zong Minqiang says all the power produced on the farm makes up one-tenth of Beijing’s electricity needs.
Zong says the farm was constructed to help clean up Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. He says the farm helps ease Beijing’s reliance on dirty energy that creates the capital’s notorious smog.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, the Chinese government earmarked 14.5 percent of a $586-billion stimulus package to energy saving and green investments.
China has also attracted record investments from overseas companies in the past two years.
Yet traveling back to smog-bound Beijing, past industrial factories, high-rise apartment blocks under construction, shopping malls and the ever growing number of cars, the future once more looks uncertain.
How, one asks, will the government satisfy the energy demands resulting from the rising expectations of its 1.3 billion, consumer-hungry people? A small part of the answer is already blowing in the wind. But burning questions remain.
Posted by Southern African Alternative Energy Association (SAAEA) in the interest of conserving the environment.