Clean energy: The Chinese ecological civilisation?

China has been named a world leader in clean energy, along with India and the US.

So, what is setting China ahead of the rest of the competition?

President Xi Jinping has called for China to become an ‘ecological civilisation’, shifting towards clean energy. This transition is marked by becoming world leaders in the creation of harnessing new energies and making them more efficient. China excels in three key markets; solar, wind and electric car manufacturing.

Five out of six top solar and the top five wind turbine manufacturers, along with six of the ten major car manufacturers who are global influencers in clean energy are owned by companies based in China.

China-based companies also contribute to the production of lithium products; batteries, electric cars etc. China’s technological advancements and their production of clean energy mean the rest of the world is looking to them for innovation and influence.

Photo of wind turbine and solar panels

What has led to success in this area?

Growing industrial production has led to serious environmental issues in China. So, serious action has been taken to develop new methods to address the issues.

Good funding has allowed rapid developments. Support from the Asian Infrastructure Bank and the New Development Bank have invested heavily in clean energy. The advances made increase the Chinese government’s profile on the world stage as a global leader and pioneer of green projects.

Photo of nuclear power factory

How much can be harnessed?

By 2022 two thirds of the world’s clean energy will be produced in China. The country has already surpassed its 2020 solar panel target and is expected to surpass wind targets before 2019. Since 2016, over 165 gigawatts of power from clean energy sources has come out of China. To put that into perspective, a gigawatt is the equivalent of running 100 million LED lights!

The figures are certainly very impressive, but can also be misleading when looking at overall energy usage. China, like the rest of the world, still relies heavily on coal. Increasing population and economic development mean that clean energy production is not expected to surpass the overall reliance on fossil fuels.

The ability to produce the equipment and technology necessary to provide a worldwide switch sets China apart from many nations. Its constant development and high levels of funding has allowed products to be cheaper and more efficient. This can only encourage the use of more clean energy as fossil fuels dwindle and new alternatives become necessary.