[LINK] China greens energy rapidly

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Sun Jan 31 18:43:15 AEDT 2010

Despite blocking Stockholm, and rare-earth sales, China appears serious
regarding developing & deploying domestic, and world, green energy tech.

For example, quote: *China's top leaders are intensely focused on energy 
policy: on Wednesday, the government announced the creation of a National 
Energy Commission composed of cabinet ministers as a "superministry" led 
by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao himself.*

"China Leading Global Race to Make Clean Energy"

By KEITH BRADSHER Published: January 30, 2010

TIANJIN, China — China vaulted past competitors in Denmark, Germany, 
Spain and the United States last year to become the world’s largest maker 
of wind turbines, and is poised to expand even further this year.

China has also leapfrogged the West in the last two years to emerge as 
the world's largest manufacturer of solar panels. And the country is 
pushing equally hard to build nuclear reactors and the most efficient 
types of coal power plants.

These efforts to dominate renewable energy technologies raise the 
prospect that the West may someday trade its dependence on oil from the 
Mideast for a reliance on solar panels, wind turbines and other gear 
manufactured in China. 

Most of the energy equipment will carry a brass plate, "Made in China" 
said K. K. Chan, the chief executive of Nature Elements Capital, a 
private equity fund in Beijing that focuses on renewable energy

President Obama in his State of the Union speech last week, sounded an 
alarm that the United States was falling behind other countries, 
especially China, on energy. "I do not accept a future where the jobs and 
industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders and I know you don't 
either," he told Congress.

The United States and other countries are offering incentives to develop 
their own renewable energy industries, and Mr. Obama called for 
redoubling American efforts. Yet many Western and Chinese executives 
expect China to prevail in the energy-technology race. 

Multinational corporations are responding to the rapid growth of China's 
market by building big, state-of-the-art factories in China. Vestas of 
Denmark has just erected the world's biggest wind turbine manufacturing 
complex here in northeastern China, and transferred the technology to 
build the latest electronic controls and generators.

"You have to move fast with the market," said Jens Tommerup, the 
president of Vestas China. "Nobody has ever seen such fast development in 
a wind market." Renewable energy industries here are adding jobs rapidly, 
reaching 1.12 million in 2008 and climbing by 100,000 a year, according 
to the government-backed Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association. 

Yet renewable energy may be doing more for China's economy than for the 
environment. Total power generation in China is on track to pass the 
United States in 2012 and most of the added capacity will still be from 

China intends for wind, solar and biomass energy to represent 8 percent 
of its electricity generation capacity by 2020. That compares with less 
than 4 percent now in China and the United States. Coal will still 
represent two-thirds of China's capacity in 2020, and nuclear and 
hydropower most of the rest.

As China seeks to dominate energy-equipment exports, it has the advantage 
of being the world's largest market for power equipment. The government 
spends heavily to upgrade the electricity grid, committing $45 billion in 
2009 alone. State-owned banks provide generous financing.

China's top leaders are intensely focused on energy policy: on Wednesday, 
the government announced the creation of a National Energy Commission 
composed of cabinet ministers as a "superministry" led by Prime Minister 
Wen Jiabao himself. 

Regulators have set mandates for power generation companies to use more 
renewable energy. Generous subsidies for consumers to install their own 
solar panels or solar water heaters have produced flurries of activity on 
rooftops across China.

China's biggest advantage may be its domestic demand for electricity, 
rising 15 percent a year. To meet demand in the coming decade, according 
to statistics from the International Energy Agency, China will need to 
add nearly nine times as much electricity generation capacity as the 
United States will.

So while Americans are used to thinking of themselves as having the 
world's largest market in many industries, China's market for power 
equipment dwarfs that of the United States, even though the American 
market is more mature. That means Chinese producers enjoy enormous 
efficiencies from large-scale production.

In the United States, power companies frequently face a choice between 
buying renewable energy equipment or continuing to operate fossil-fuel-
fired power plants that have already been built and paid for. 

In China, power companies have to buy lots of new equipment anyway, and 
alternative energy, particularly wind and nuclear, is increasingly priced 

Interest rates as low as 2 percent for bank loans; the result of a 
savings rate of 40 percent and a government policy of steering loans to 
renewable energy have also made a big difference.

As in many other industries, China's low labor costs are an advantage in 
energy. Although Chinese wages have risen sharply in the last five years, 
Vestas still pays assembly line workers here only $4,100 a year. (snip)



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