More efficiency, wind power and nuclear for China

As the world’s first energy consumer and greenhouse gases emitter, the People’s Republic of China is under closed scrutiny from energy analysts. Last week, not one or two but three different news caught my attention on this country.

The climate situation there is dreadful as according to CNN massive floods forced 1.6 million people to evacuate their homes. It is indeed high time for all of us to act as forcefully as China is. It indeed seems the local government got it right.

Massive plans on energy efficiency, renewables and nuclear are planned in order to curb the increasing reliance of the country on coal and oil, two major pollution sources.

On energy efficiency. As the New York Times note :

The Chinese government is considering plans to subsidize the use of energy-efficient materials and renewable energy technologies in new buildings and is encouraging provincial and municipal governments to impose stricter efficiency standards than the national minimums, Chinese officials said Wednesday.

China’s heightened interest in saving energy — a response to electricity shortages and blackouts this year as well as longer-term security worries about dependence on energy imports — comes as the country’s construction industry continues to barrel ahead at a breathtaking pace.

(…) Chinese estimates show that the country’s commercial office buildings use 10 to 20 percent less electricity per square meter than comparable Western buildings. But the savings tend to come not from better designs but from thermostats set as high as 26 degrees Celsius (79 Fahrenheit) in summer and as low as 18 degrees (64 Fahrenheit) in winter.

Nota : On the last point, we should do the same here. This is what I call energy sobriety…

On wind energy. To People’s Daily Online :

In the next five years, China will boost its offshore wind power installed capacity to 5 gigawatts and form a complete technology and industrial chain. Afterward, China’s offshore wind power will enter into a phase of large-scale development and is estimated to reach 30 gigawatts in 2020, according to the energy plan and renewable energy plan during the 12th Five-Year Plan.

The National Energy Bureau (NEB) will launch preparation work for the second public bidding on offshore wind power concession projects in the second half year of 2011 and is scheduled to complete the bidding in the first half year of 2012. The total construction scale will be between 1.5 gigawatts and 2 gigawatts, according to news from a symposium on offshore wind power held in Nantong City of east China’s Jiangsu Province on June 22.

On nuclear energy. To Indian Express :

China, which suspended approvals for new nuclear plans following the radiation crisis in a Japanese plant, would soon begin the approval process. China could resume the approval process for new nuclear power projects by mid-2012, the state-run China Daily reported today.

“To restart the approval procedure in one year is the optimistic estimate, but the country will definitely lift the suspension in two years,” Director of the research centre of the China Nuclear Energy Association Zheng Yuhui was quoted as saying by the paper.

(…) The crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant might delay some new projects in China, but it will not stop the country from achieving its target of building 70 to 80 gigawatts (gW) of installed production capacity by the end of 2020, Shen Wenquan, a member of the expert committee of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp Ltd said.

To conclude, I think China got it right.

The country is indeed working on the three parts of the low carbon energy : efficiency, renewables and nuclear. So, I still believe the People’s Republic will win the cleantech arms race…

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