China Looks to the Sun to Solve Air Pollution

Published on Author santangeloz17

After the November pact with US president Obama to increase China’s share of alternative energy sources in its total energy use to 20% by 2030, China has begun to invest in solar energy. As currently the world largest emitter of carbon, China plans to build as much as 17.8 gigawatts of solar projects in 2015, almost two and a half times as much solar energy as the United States added in 2014.  Last year China installed 12 gigawatts of solar China to accelerate its take-up of solar energy.power, narrowly missing its target from the year before. China aims to build these projects in the areas most affected by air pollution such as the northern province of Hebei.

As a result, China has seen its carbon emissions fall for the first time in a decade by 2%, helping to slow down the global production of green house gasses. For an economy growing at over 7%, a 2% decrease in carbon emissions is a sign of significant efforts by the Chinese government.  The China’s National Energy Administration has asked departments in 26 regions to submit plans by the end of April including new solar projects for 2015.

Although the solar programs have been proven successful, China must diversify its energy portfolio. Currently, about 70% of China’s energy is coming from coal. Although solar energy is clean, it is not costly. Perhaps if China invested in other sources of energy such as nuclear energy, than it could keep energy prices low while maintaining a low carbon footprint.


4 Responses to China Looks to the Sun to Solve Air Pollution

  1. Interesting. I’ve been past very large scale wind farms in China; it’s not just solar. In an earlier era hydroelectric got much attention, but as the Three Rivers Gorge amply illustrates, such projects take a very long time to construct and carry a big price tag. They’re also much harder to do politically than when a former civil engineer, Li Peng, was Premier [1987-1998]. On the demand side, mass transit and the extensive rail network are also components.

  2. Solar power, and all other forms of alternative energy or musts for China moving forward. Solar definitely has potential because China has large swaths of land that cannot be used for agriculture, which makes them viable geographic targets for solar panel development. But should China not be more heavily investing in nuclear energy? If properly managed, nuclear energy is perhaps the most effective form of alternative energy. But is China weary of the risks after Japan in 2011? China is not safe from natural disaster, such as typhoons and earthquakes, and perhaps is turning to other forms of energy because of this. And this is a trend seen across history. The USSR dialed back after Chernobyl, the United States after Three Mile Island, and Japan after Fukushima. Nuclear disasters cause massive upheaval, both politically and socially. Even though China does have nuclear capacity, is it looking elsewhere to diminish the risk of polarizing circumstances in a time where the CCP is already under the microscope?

  3. In fact, China has most actively constructed nuclear energy reactors. According to 2013 Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the number of nuclear energy reactors under construction in China is the highest among Russia, India, South Korea and United States more than 50% percent. It is true that not until 2011, China’s leadership put a halt to nuclear licensing and construction, unwilling to take the risk a terrible accident. However, since they saw it as central to energy and climate strategy, and a future export platform. Not only the sheer number of construction sites are worrisome but also strong emphasis on indigenous innovation has caused too much corruption and too little attention to safety so far.

  4. The installation of solar panels is a step in the right direction, and from what I’ve read it seems that the projects pay for themselves over time. The question then becomes are solar panels the best way to move forward with renewable energy? With the fast rate at which technology advances it seems that there could be a cheaper more efficient way to decrease carbon emissions.