Inter Press Service
March 21, 2002
‘While going green has consensus with the Chinese leadership, much depends on government will if renewable energy such as solar, wind and geothermal are to emerge as significant sources in China’s overall energy mix.’
Beijing: Chinese leaders have pledged to aggressively increase alternative energy production in their eleventh five-year economic plan. The message has been spread vociferously at various high-level meetings on sustainable development and global climate protection in recent months.
Opening an international conference on renewable energy in Beijing last November, President Hu Jintao drew applause while declaring that China saw “strengthening the development and use of renewable energy as a must”.
With soaring oil prices, frequent electricity shortages all over the country and worsening pollution, it would seem that the prospects for China’s renewable energy industries have never been better. Beijing is keen to promote low-polluting alternative energy not only as a solution but also to improve its profile as a responsible international player.
But while going green has consensus with the Chinese leadership, much depends on government will if renewable energy such as solar, wind and geothermal are to emerge as significant sources in China’s overall energy mix.
“If China wants to implement new energy technologies, there is no doubt that they can do it very rapidly. We have seen this happening in the telecommunications industry and other sectors,” says James Brock, an independent energy analyst based in Beijing.
One of the problems with Beijing’s commitment to developing renewable energy sources, though, is that demand for energy is outstripping the speed of development of alternative-energy sources.