New energy industries to fuel China's green growth

Updated: 2011-04-11 09:12


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BEIJING - With China's ambitious plans to cut carbon emissions for a greener economy during the 12th five-year plan period from 2011 to 2015, new energy industries are becoming even more significant than in the past. These industries will be responsible for serving the country's growing appetite for energy to feed its rapid development.

According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), China overtook America as the world's largest energy consumer in 2010.

Demand by China, which has outpaced Japan to become the world's second largest economy, will keep climbing rapidly in years to come, the report said.

But with the world oil supply on a downslide and prices heading skyward due to unrest in the Middle East, China will increasingly feel pressure to meet its energy demands.

To guarantee enough fuel for economic growth, experts point to the new energy sector, namely renewable sources such as wind, solar, nuclear and tidal power, as an answer.

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"Traditional energy sources will run out sooner or later. We should take actions to brace for the shortfalls now," said Qin Haiyan, secretary general of the Chinese Wind Energy Association (CWEA).

"Surging oil prices made us all the more determined to develop renewable energies," he said.

China's new energy sector has witnessed significant developments over the past several years as part of the government's efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

According to a report by the Climate Policy Initiative at Tsinghua University, China added 90GW of additional hydropower, 25GW of wind power and 2GW of nuclear power during the period from 2005 to 2008.

"Through developments over the past several years, China's new energy industry has laid a sound foundation. Take wind power, for example. China has finished learning foreign technologies and has formed a relatively complete industrial system," Qin Haiyan told Xinhua.

Huarui Wind Power Technology Company, China's leading wind power company, headquartered in the silicon valley of Zhongguancun, says its work on the most advanced wind turbine with a single unit capacity of 6 MW is progressing smoothly and the first model will come off the line in June of this year.

The company's earnings in 2010 jumped 48.03 percent from the previous year to 20.3 billion yuan ($3.1 billion).

Huarui's robust performance mirrors the sector's boom in the broader market.

China installed 18.9GW wind turbines in 2010, up 37.1 percent from 2009, bringing China's total wind generating capacity to 44.7GW, according to figures released by the CWEA.

Reports by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA), also show that China has overtaken the US as the largest wind power market globally.

With the market expanding, the country sees no end to the growth in green investment.

A survey by the Pew Charitable Trusts says that China's clean energy investment topped $54.4 billion in 2010, up 39 percent from the previous year.

The study estimates that China now produces nearly half of the world's wind and solar modules.

Apart from supplying alternative fuels to China, the emerging energy sector also plays a significant role in promoting the green growth pattern that the country pledged in its 12th five-year plan.

The new plan calls for non-fossil fuels to be used in 11.4 percent of primary energy consumption by 2015.

It also targets a 15 percent reduction in energy consumption per unit of GDP over the next five years and a 17 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP over the same period.

Analysts say that the new energy sector is the key to achieving these goals, and it is expected to become the new impetus for economic growth.

Qin Haiyan said that China will require a minimum of 160 billion yuan of investment if it plans to install 20GW of wind power each year.

According to a report by the Economic Information Daily, China aims to install 290GW of new energy power by 2020, with a planned investment of 5 trillion yuan.

"The new energy sector will expand to become a huge industry if China aims to boost its share to 20 percent of total energy consumption. In the long run, the sector has huge potential to spur growth and create jobs," said Qin Haiyan.


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