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Energy in China

Energy in China

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Published by wjbriggs
I wrote this article in the Summer of 2008. It takes a serious look at the future of China's energy resources and where they are going. The article assesses China's current "Green energy" movement and it's viability. While China wants to further their green technologies, they are limited by resource allocation, money, and competing interests. Ultimately China's green energy movement is a long way off from being a revolution--but it's growing a rapidly unexpected pace.
I wrote this article in the Summer of 2008. It takes a serious look at the future of China's energy resources and where they are going. The article assesses China's current "Green energy" movement and it's viability. While China wants to further their green technologies, they are limited by resource allocation, money, and competing interests. Ultimately China's green energy movement is a long way off from being a revolution--but it's growing a rapidly unexpected pace.

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Published by: wjbriggs on Jun 27, 2008
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07/26/2010

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 QUARTERLY UPDATE
SHANGHAI, CHINASUMMER, 2008
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RENEWABLE ENERGY
June, 2008
CHINA’S ENERGY CHALLENGES
China’s recent ventures into the new and renewable energy sectors are propelledby the need to achieve total ‘energy security’. Dependence on foreign oilcoupled with a heavy reliance on coal threatens China’s monumental growth andvacillating environment. Fearing an energy crisis, power shortages, and backlashfrom rural communities left without power, Beijing has began to embrace, amongnumerous other projects, renewable energy development.China’s energy demands are nothing new, but they are increasingly becomingmore urgent for Beijing. Chinese President Hu Jintao, at the APEC meeting lastSeptember in Australia, aired the CCP’s energy imperatives, “We should ensurethat both production and consumption are compatible with sustainabledevelopment. We should optimize the energy structure, promote industrialupgrading, develop low-carbon economy, build a resources-conserving andenvironment-friendly society and thus address the root cause of climate change.”President Hu’s statement not only respects the APEC agenda but clearlydemonstrates Beijing’s approval for alternative energy developments.Currently 70 percent of energy consumption in China derives from coal; by 2030optimists would belucky to see this leveldip to 60 percent.China’s recent StateCouncil InformationOffice,
White Paper onEnergy 
(December 26, 2007), stated that they rank third in coal reserves with1,034.5 billion tons. Add this to the estimated 2.5 years it takes to build, fromconception to construction, a fully operating coal plant and you can see theimplications. However, China also knows that coal reliance adversely affects theenvironment—which in turn leads to social disharmonies.
China understands the energychallenges it faces and in turn haslooked towards renewable energyto alleviate oil dependence.
 
CHINA’S GOALS
China’s goal, by 2020, is to have 15 percent of the countries primary energystem from renewable sources. Beijing, via recent law (Renewable Energy Law,enacted January 2006), deems hydroelectricity, wind power, solar energy,geothermal energy, and marine energy as verified renewable energy sources.
 
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Nuclear power, due to the hard to place waste it creates, cannot be consideredtruly sustainable while hydropower by 2020 is estimated to be almost fullyexploited. Projects, funding, and interest in the renewable energy sector centeraround wind, biomass projects, and, to a lesser degree, solar power.A quick look at the hard numbers illustrates both the Central government’s andprivate businesses’ interests. A recent (spring, 2008) report, issued by theNational Industry and Commerce Joint New Energy Business Association,estimates that 76 billion RMB (10.4 billion USD) was invested into China’s newenergy and renewable energy industries in 2007. Nearly half (48 billion RMB~6.56 billion USD) of the estimated investments funded wind power andhydropower projects. Solar, bio, and methane, energy companies investedroughly 26 billion RMB (2.8 billion USD).The 2006 Renewable Energy Law, championed among internationalenvironmentalists, promises tax incentives and rebates for firms pursingrenewable energy initiatives. China understands the energy challenges it facesand in turn has looked towards renewable energy to alleviate oil dependence.International and domestic companies alike recognize this need and, suppliedwith innovation, favorable tax policies, and a nod from Beijing, the wind andsolar energy sectors have taken off.China’s deft maneuvers in the renewable energy sector have lead World Watch(a prominent environmental research group) President Chris Falvin to state,“…China will be number one in less than three years in every renewable energymarket in the world.” China’s renewable energy sector expanding at abreak-neck pace even though China will likely surpass the US in carbon emissionsin a decade’s time. China strives to capitalize on renewable energy sources—forboth ‘energy security’ and environmental causes.The following will examine China’s key renewable energy sectors, their currentstatus, future goals and challenges, and the companies that drive them.
WIND
Over the past year wind power has been the best performing energy sector. Theresult: companies and governments from around the world are expected tospend as much as USD $150 billion on wind power projects over the next fiveyears. Vestas Wind Systems (Denmark) and Iberdrola of Spain will lead windproject spending as international lawmakers provide financial incentives for windpower—a non polluter, comparatively inexpensive, renewable energy.

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