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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

China tops the world in clean energy production

China has topped the World in producing fluorescent lights, bulbs, solar water heaters, solar photovoltaic cells and wind turbines over past few years- reports the Worldwatch through its report entitled "Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in China :Current Status and Prospects for people- 2020".

The remarkable rise in China’s clean energy sector reflects a strong and growing commitment by the Government to diversify its energy economy, reduce environmental problems, and stave off massive increases in energy imports. Worldwatch reports that the country has emerged as a global leader in clean energy topping the world in clean energy production.

The Government of China has recognized the energy as a strategic sector. In this view, the country took up appropriate steps to develop renewable energy technologies during recent years. The country has adopted a new host of new policies and regulations aimed at encouraging energy efficiency and expanding renewable energy development. China has built its clean energy sector in synergy with its unique economic systems and institutions of governance- reports the institute. The country has used its strong financial position to direct tens of billions o dollars into clean energy, that too at the time when many countries of the world are still struggling with the aftermath of the devastating financial crisis.

In china, per capita utilization of energy remains far below the International average .It is growing fast due to infrastructure intensive Government Stimulus programmes launched in 2008. Currently the energy consumption in China is dominated by coal and industry is the major energy consumer. In the summary of its report, the institute states that improving the efficiency of energy use and enhancing conservation of energy would be critical to ease the energy supply constrains , energy security, reduce environmental pollution, “green” the economy, and tackle the climate challenges.

In recent years the Chinese Government has taken a number of initiatives, some of which were – strong action to promote renewable energy, establish energy conservation targets, and delegate energy saving responsibilities to regions. Some of the important legislative actions taken up by the Chinese Government include the National Energy Saving Law which came into force in January 2006, the National Medium and Long Term Development Plans for Renewable Energy(September 2007), and a Medium and Long Term Energy Conservation Plan(November 2004).

The report by the Worldwatch institute reveals – since 2005, the Chinese Government has elevated its energy conservation and energy efficiency efforts to basic state policy. An energy saving target of 20 % has been set in the 11th Five Year Plan and administrative legal and economic measures to achieve this goal has been adopted.

The country became successful in reducing its energy consumption by just over 10% per unit of GDP. Thus it saved 290 million tones of coal equivalent (tce), and reduced the Green House Gas Emission by 750 million tones of coal equivalent.” This pace of energy conservation has rarely been achieved by rest of the world.”
The report of the Worldwatch comments that – China’s efforts in renewable energy conservation has been more dramatic. The renewable used in China totaled some 250 mtce excluding traditional biomass energy.Renewables counted for 9% of China’s total use of primary energy that year, up from7.5% in 2005.

Consumption of renewable energy in China has been assessed to be around 70 million tce. It comprises usage of hydropower (180 million tce), followed by solar, wind and biomass.

China had total installed capacity of hydropower and windpower up to 197 gigawatts (GW) and 26GW in 2009, respectively. The cumulative wind installations reportedly doubled in 2009 and new wind installations increased more than 100%. As such China has become the largest market for windpower. It housed nearly one third of the world’s total installed capacity in 2009.

Image 1 : China's Three Gorges dam, the world's largest renewable energy generating project ( credit- rechargenews.com)

Image 2 : A wind energy farm somewhere in China (credit- brainicane)

Solar Power
In 2009, China’s total installation of Solar Photo Voltaics (PV) reached up to 310 MW. It was more than double of 150 MW in 2008.However; China’s Global Installed Capacity could figure only 2%. The country installed 42 million sqm of Solar Water Heaters in 2009, increasing the total installed capacity by 31%. It has accounted for 70 -80% of the global market for Solar Hot Water Systems in recent years.

Government- Cooperation
How did China rise to the Global Leadership in clean energy? Well, it has don due to mutual cooperation between industry and the Government. The Government of China has been providing broad range incentives to create a nationwide base for the development of renewable energy industries. China’s investment in Science and Technology has largely been focused on the renewable energy sector since last two decades. It made the country an innovator as well as low cost manufacturer of cutting edge technologies. Chinese companies have occupied proper places in clean energy markets in Europe and North America – reports the Worldwatch.

The report of the Worldwatch reveals that – renewable in China will almost certainly be continued strong growth in the years ahead as new policy incentives are enforced. These new policy incentives include –

1. Regional feed-in tariff scheme for windpower
2. Plan to build seven large scale wind-bases in six of its provinces
3. The new Golden Sun Programme aimed at accelerating the domestic solar market
4. Creation of Industrial Parks dedicated to clean energy with the help of the Government
5. Provisions of subsidies and infrastructure investments to support the creation of new companies, jobs and revenues for local Governments.

In recent years, China has become the World’s Largest Solar PV Producer. The annual capacity of producing solar water heaters is more than 40 million sq m- reports the Worldwatch. It is reported that many Chinese renewable energy companies rely heavily on export markets to fuel their growth. It has created a growing tension with companies of Europe and North America. It is important to note that these companies are loosing their shares in the global markets. Analysts say that the same is happening due to strong support from the state to industries. The report reveals- needs to boost energy security, tackle climate change, ease the pressure of environmental pollution and improvement of energy supply in rural areas are the key drivers behind China’s efforts in these areas.

Key Words : China, World, Non- conventional energy