China and the Green Energy Revolution
For the longest time, many considered China to be the place where green energy was doomed to failure. After all, this was a country that was building one coal factory every single week, in a slow week. Clouds of pollution would obscure entire cities and it was so bad that the country had to stop half the city from driving during the Olympics. Clouds of pollution from China could even be seen from space making their way over to the United States.
However, things have changed and China may become a world leader in green energy. As part of its economic stimulus package to restart the economy after the financial meltdown that swept the world, China created the largest green investment program in the entire world by giving out $336 billion in funds to green companies. That is well above the $80 billion put aside by the United States and the $45 billion by the European Union.
China has expressed that it wants to have energy security as part of its economic transformation and the country has pushed ahead with renewable energy development. Roughly 17 percent of the electricity in China currently comes from renewable sources and the country has the largest number of hydroelectric generators in the world. In 2007 the country had 145,000 megawatts of hydropower and by 2010 that had increased to 190,000 megawatts. Thanks to the heavy investment into green energy, China is expected to be able to supply all its power itself, through renewable resources, within the next 20 years.
Currently, China produces one-third of the solar photovoltaics in the world and the country has led the world with the manufacturing of these photovoltaics with its six biggest solar companies amounting to $15 billion in value. Nearly one gigawatt of energy is produced in China by solar energy, putting it second only to Japan. In 2007, there was 20 megawatts of installed solar capacity and that more than doubled in 2008 to 50 megawatts. By 2012, it is expected to be 232 megawatts and by 2020 most expect China to be producing 20 gigawatts of energy from solar resources.
In addition to solar energy, China has the largest wind resources on the planet, with 75 percent of those resources being found off-shore of the country. Currently, wind power in China accounts for 12.2 gigawatts of energy and the country is the fourth largest producer of wind power after the United States, Germany and Spain. This past year, China also became the largest maker of wind turbines in the entire world. While the country wanted to have 10 gigawatts of wind energy installed by 2010, it will most likely exceed 25.1 gigawatts within only a couple years. By 2020, the country plans to have 100 gigawatts of energy coming from wind energy.
Clearly, China is showing the world that when it does something, it does it on a large scale. With China pushing green energy, one of the worst polluters on the planet may become the greenest country in history.
To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Thegreenlivingblog.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on May 29, 2010.
More A Dawn Articles