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New Report Shows China’s Clean Energy Lead Increasing

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Teryn Norris is president and founder of Americans for Energy Leadership. He has developed and advanced policy at the federal and state level, appeared on national television and radio, and...

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China’s ambitious efforts to dominate in clean energy sectors have been widely documented of late, but a new Worldwatch Institute report, “China’s Growth in Clean Energy Matches Ambition,” concludes that these trends have been underestimated if anything.  Since “Rising Tigers, Sleeping Giant” benchmarked China’s clean energy policies and successes in 2009, the disparity between their ambitious policies and America’s lackluster efforts has actually increased:

‘”Governments and industries around the world are now struggling to keep pace with China,’ said Worldwatch President Christopher Flavin. ‘China is succeeding precisely where the United States is failing – in implementing the ambitious policies and making the sustained investment that is needed to spur growth in clean energy. If China keeps on its current pace, it will be the undisputed global leader in clean energy within the next two years.’”

A few of the report’s most important findings are below:

Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency

  • In 2009, China surpassed the United States to become the world’s largest market for wind power, housing nearly one-third of the total installed capacity.
  • China’s newly added wind power capacity has doubled every year for the past four years. The country added 13.8 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity in 2009.
  • China’s installed solar water heating capacity alone accounts for 80 percent of global installations.
  • China reduced its energy intensity (energy use per unit of GDP) by 15.6 percent between 2005 and 2009 and is on target to achieve its 20 percent target by 2010.

Growth and Outlook

  • China’s energy consumption has doubled since 2000, although per capita energy use remains well below the world average: 2.1 tce in China versus 6.6 in developed (OECD) countries and 11.1 in the United States.
  • China’s vehicle fleet is estimated to increase by 1 million every month.
  • Coal consumption in China has doubled over the past nine years. Consumption of oil tripled.
  • According to Chinese projections, renewables should represent 16–20 percent of total energy consumption by 2020, and 40–45 percent by 2050.”
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