What’s perhaps most interesting about this story is that it is from the conservative Washington Times:
China continues to race ahead of U.S. to invest in clean energy
Regardless of the outcome of this month’s climate talks in Copenhagen, China is sprinting ahead in an effort to develop renewable energy sources – especially solar and wind power – to ease its reliance on carbon-rich coal.
China’s need to sustain strong economic growth means its reliance on fossil fuels will continue to grow, as will its position as the world’s biggest emitter of carbon, analysts say. But it is also investing heavily in windmills, solar panels and hydroelectric power, having doubled its wind generating capacity every year since 2005.
China is already the world’s leading manufacturer of solar panels, Dinghuan Shi, chairman of the government’s China Renewable Energy Society, said at an energy conference in Beijing earlier this month.
Julian Wong, senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, said solar power looks especially promising.
“It hasnt even been a full year since the [Chinese] government made domestic solar deployment a priority. We have seen how government support of wind helped it take off. It could be the same for solar,” Mr. Wong said.
China’s rapid industrial development in the past three decades has been fueled by coal, which supplies 76 percent of China’s electric-generating needs.
“For China to keep its rapid economic growth going, the only economic option is to burn more coal; renewable energy simply cannot compete,” said Tristan Edmondson, founding partner at Mint Research, a Beijing-based consultancy.
Mr. Edmondson estimates that China will use 2.17 trillion [kg] tons of coal a year by 2020, up from 650 billion [kg] tons in 2000.
By then, Chinese planners are counting on non-fossil fuels to provide 15 percent to 17 percent of its electricity, up from about 8 percent today.
China’s new energy development plan, drafted by the National Energy Administration, is expected to be announced shortly after the U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen concludes next week.
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