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Who’s the Global Leader on Renewable Energy Standards?… you’d be surprised.


Tyler Hess, KY, USA

Much to my surprise, I awake to find a new global leader in greenhouse gas emission reduction…. China! One may not believe it, until hearing it directly from Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-chairman of China’s national development and reform commission. He is directly dealing with many of the renewable energy projects underway in China. Renewable energy goals recently set by China include receiving 20% of their energy from renewable sources, particularly wind and solar, by 2020. This will match the European Union’s goals that were also recently set.

Currently, China receives 120MW of energy from solar power; however, their goal is to produce 3GW by 2020. Their goals in relation to wind energy have recently been increased from 30GW to 100 GW. Such world leadership on renewable energy projects in startling for China, considering its concern with maintaining its rapidly increasing rate of industrialization.

To relate this to the US: our goal for increasing solar power is to have 200m² devoted to solar heating arrays by 2020. Currently, with 120MW output of solar power, China has 130m² of heating arrays. Moreover, China plans to increase their solar output 25 times; thus, making their projected use of arrays much higher than the United States come 2020.

Lately, China passed a $590 billion stimulus package, with $30 billion directly focused to environmental projects and emission reduction projects. In the first quarter of 2009, this stimulus package caused the Chinese economy to grow by 6.1%. Overall, it is continuously said that the US and China must be the two main countries to collaborate on a global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Obviously one of these countries has taken a lead on renewable energy standards, bureaucracy is busy stymieing the other.

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