Friday, July 14, 2006

Renewable Energy Boost


Wind Farm - Photo by National Renewable Energy Lab

For a long time renewable energy technologies have needed a financial “shot in the arm” for research and development. This need is particularly strong in the area of design for manufacturability. It now looks like China will make the needed infusion of cash that will make renewables competitive in future markets. Unfortunately this will further reduce US competitiveness in renewable and clean technologies.

Reuters has an interesting article today.

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China is set to spend $200 billion on renewable energy over the next 15 years, and industry players are racing to grab a slice of the action.

That kind of money would buy you an oil firm the size of Chevron and leave change to fund the current renewables programs of all Europe’s top oil firms for 25 years.

So from the arid plains of Xinjiang to the rolling hills of sub-tropical Guangdong, Chinese and foreign firms are erecting 40-storey wind turbines, installing solar panels, and conducting tests on corn for biofuel.

Beijing wants a tenth of its energy to come from environmentally friendly sources by 2010 â€" a desire driven by soaring air pollution and chronic environmental degradation that is swelling medical bills and provoking discontent.

Projects will need turbines, blades and other power components, which is why General Electric Co., Vestas Wind Systems and Gamesa, as well as homegrown firms China Solar Energy Holdings Ltd. and Suntech, are expanding capacity in the country.

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