China needs a lot of energy to power its economy and the country's reliance on coal has led to major problems with unsafe work conditions and pollution. By 2006, China's energy requirements had become the second highest in the world, doubling its needs from the past decade.
The greater the need for energy, the greater the urgency to find a renewable solution and China appears to be (at least in part) heading in the right direction. A new report has found that China will likely achieve its target of getting 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and perhaps 30 per cent by 2050. The U.S., by comparison, is working towards achieving 7.5 per cent renewables by 2013. Though, Al Gore says we can make it to 100% by 2018.
Wind energy plays a big part in China's plans to go renewable. Industry analysts at China Strategies LLC says the country's pace of wind development is two years ahead of schedule, doubling the current target of 10 gigawatts to 20 GW by 2010. A decade from then, China Strategies predicts that China will produce 100 GW by 2020, an increase in wind energy by 1,667%.
At present China produces just 6 gigawatts of wind energy.The government is making policies that encourage wind power development, even though it remains costlier than coal power. More than 50 domestic manufacturers of wind turbines are already in the market and foreign producers are also in the country hoping to transform more wind into power.
In a report released by by Washington (D.C.)-based Worldwatch Institute, Eric Martinot, one of the authors says in an interview with Buisness Week that China will easily exceed its wind power plan.
"Wind power in China historically has been driven by a desire for industrial development," says Martinot, senior visiting scholar at the Tsinghua-BP Clean Energy Research& Education Center in Beijing . "But it is now being eclipsed by a desire for energy security. Beijing wants anything that can substitute for energy imports and anything that can stretch out China's coal reserves."f
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