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The Signs That China Is Serious About Renewable Energy

15 May 10:00 by Steve Walia

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Chinese manufacturing has played a huge part in commercialising renewable energy across the world, bringing ever cheaper component parts as efficiencies are realised from standardised production. At home, the Chinese government is also aiming to change the notoriously polluting country of old into a clean sustainable economy. It's driven in part by global factors but the primary aim is to tackle the terrible air pollution that is estimated to kill more than 1.1 million Chinese people annually.

Already, the country is installing new capacity at incredible rates. Last year it added a whopping 35GW of fresh solar generation - equal nearly to the entire capacity of Germany. Greenpeace has estimated that China is installing sufficient solar panels and wind turbines to cover an entire football field every single hour.

The government is working to achieve 20pc of its energy generation from renewables by 2030 and is planning to invest $360 billion towards achieving this in the coming three years. Figures suggest that China is ahead of its goal, with coal consumption dropping for the third year in a row in 2016. That is good news for the world as a whole, as China buys up 50pc of total global coal production.

After earlier errors in building large developments away from local populations and without the necessary transmission lines in place, the government is now incentivising developments that are built close to towns and cities whilst investing in the necessary infrastructure.

Leaders have also been clear about the benefits of green energy as a means of creating thousands of skilled new jobs.

Certainly, whatever its main motivations, it is fascinating to see how a country once associated with terrible pollution is now sailing past wealthier nations in clean energy and rapidly becoming a global climate change leader.