China Moves Up in Renewable Energy

BEIJING, Dec. 10 (UPI) — China is the second most attractive place in the world to invest in renewable energy, says an Ernst & Young report released Wednesday.

China ranked just behind the United States and has moved ahead of Germany for the first time in the reports’ six-year history due to its increased commitments to reduce emissions through its carbon intensity reduction plans, according to the study. China’s ranking has progressed from number four in 2008 and number six in 2007.

China announced last month it would develop renewable and nuclear energies to increase the proportion of non-fossil-fuel power in China’s total primary energy consumption to around 15 percent by 2020 from 9 percent by 2008.

Nanri Island in Fujian province is just one example of China’s renewable energy initiatives.

Wind power from 19 massive turbines provides electricity to more than 50,000 people on the island. When another 57 turbines are installed next year, Nanri could reduce its coal usage by 67,000 tons, thus eliminating 94,000 tons of carbon emissions, Lin Yushu, an official with the local development and reform commission told Xinhua news agency.

The Nanri offshore wind power plant is just one of more than 100 wind farms built in China during the past five years, as the nation aims to reduce reliance on coal-fired power.

Last year China relied on coal for nearly 70 percent of its energy.

Shi Pengfei, vice president of the China Wind Energy Association, said China will have an additional 10 million kilowatts of installed wind power capacity this year, and the total installed capacity will exceed 30 million by 2010, a decade ahead of the target set in 2007.

The Global Wind Energy Council, based in Brussels, estimates China to become the world’s biggest producer of wind energy by 2013.

“I do see changes every time I visit China,” said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the council, noting the increase in the country’s wind power.

“Certainly the main driver has been government policy and clear signals it has sent to the market, and I’m sure the spirit of Chinese entrepreneurs has also contributed to the rate of growth,” said Sawyer.

Yet China faces challenges in its wind energy sector. Up to 30 percent of the country’s wind capacity was not connected to the grid in 2008, according to a report by the China Greentech Initiative, a consortium of U.S. and Chinese companies, including Cisco Systems and Westinghouse.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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