The emergency triggered by the hazardous smog in China’s north has brought to attention the country’s drive to build its renewable energy credentials. Chinese officials have implemented a suite of anti-pollution measures that includes a temporary shutdown of factories and power plants as a response to the situation.
At the same time, president Xi Jinping has ordered further efforts in promoting the development of clean energy solutions, specifically for heating in the northern regions.
US President Barack Obama has already acknowledged China as a renewable energy superpower and he said that China has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy-efficient. This statement was made by the president 7 years ago, and since 2009, China’s lead in renewable energy has only increased. In fact, a recent Climate Group report found that in 2014, China invested nearly US$90 billion in renewables which is a third more than the previous year and about 73% more than the United States.
As discouraging as the present smog events are, the country’s investments will benefit the environment in the long term. It’s not just the environment; focus on technologies that look for new ways of producing and using energy is assisting the expansion of China’s advanced manufacturing sector and providing new export markets.
In view of the country’s scale and capability, China is not only contributing significantly to the improvement of the renewable technology, it’s also driving down costs. This makes renewable energy electricity generation more competitive as compared to fossil fuel-based generation and the technology is more accessible to a wider audience around the world.
Featured Image Credit: Land Rover Our Planet