China on the Fast Track When It Comes to Renewable Energy
When you hear someone mention China, green energy is probably not the first thought that comes to your mind. Instead, you probably think of air pollution, especially if you’ve been to Beijing recently.
But China has impressive plans for its renewable energy section. It is growing its green energy faster than its fossil fuels or nuclear power capacity. And as of 2015, China is the world’s largest producer of energy from solar panels and windmills.
With a population of 1.35 billion, China’s power needs are huge even though their per capita power use is only 25% of the per capita power consumption in the USA. In other words, a Chinese citizen uses roughly 25% of the power that an American does.
Regardless, the huge population means that China needs a tremendous amount of energy and as a result, still uses a lot of coal. But dozens of coal plants have been canceled in order to focus on renewable energy. In fact, China is the world’s leading investor in renewable energy.
In order to enforce local governmental adherence to using green energy, China has established a quota system whereby provinces will have to confirm that a certain percentage of their electricity consumption comes from non-hydro renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and biomass (from plant-derived materials).
In addition, China has introduced incentive schemes to encourage private businesses to invest in renewable energy.
China’s overall definition of renewable energy includes hydro and nuclear power in addition to wind, solar, and biomass.
Under that definition, China currently generates 18% of its power through renewable energy and plans to increase to 27% by 2020. It has an even more ambitious goal of reaching 80% renewable energy by 2050.
According to scientists, China is unlikely to achieve either one of those goals. However, the fact that they have such impressive targets is an indication of their serious attitude toward becoming environmentally responsible.
Soon you may be able to visit Beijing and see only blue skies.