Green vehicles

A conventional vehicle can become a greener vehicle by mixing in renewable fuels or using less carbon intensive fossil fuel. Typical gasoline-powered cars can tolerate up to 10% ethanol. China has one of the largest fleets of natural gas vehicles in the world. The government’s current aim is to put 1m “new energy” vehicles on the roads by 2015 (electrics and plug-in hybrids).

Sustainable Building

China is facing an unprecedented urban development and it is at present undertaking sustainable building initiatives. Nearly half of the world’s new building construction will be in China by 2015. Energy consumption by buildings in China grew from 10% of the national total in 1970s to 20% in 2006 and is estimated to shoot up to 35% by 2020, according to a study by the Asia Business Council.

Improving energy efficiency of buildings is crucial for China to realise its national energy strategy. Recognising the importance of ‘green buildings’, the government has set ambitious energy targets for the building sector. The key target is to cut building energy use in all cities by 50% by 2010 and 65% by 2020, using the average energy efficiency of Chinese buildings in 1980 as the base point.

Hydropower

The Asia-Pacific region leads the global hydro power market with a total installed capacity of 295,764 MW by the end of 2008. The region has witnessed tremendous growth in the hydro electric sector over the years, principally because of strong growth in the leading hydro power nations such as China, Japan, India and Australia. These countries are cited as the most attractive destination for hydropower generation principally because of their abundant water resources.

China is an undisputed leader in the hydropower sector with nearly 1/6 of the world’s hydroelectric resources. The country has immense growth potential in the hydroelectric sector. Given that the country is dependent on fossil fuels at present for meeting the majority of its electricity needs, a shift towards renewable power sources has become mandatory. As a result, China is making efforts to exploit the vast available hydro power potential in the country.

Geothermal Energy

The Earth’s geothermal resources are theoretically more than adequate to supply humanity’s energy needs, but only a very small fraction may be profitably exploited. Geothermal energy exploitation in China started approximately around 1970 and it is now the world’s largest consumer of geothermal power.

China has also listed the geothermal energy as renewable clean energy in the National 12th Five-Year Energy Plan (2011-2015), with a goal to supply heating to 350 million square meters in the next five years, which has an expected market size of around 70 billion yuan ($10.8 billion).

Biomass

Society’s dependence on fossil fuel for mass production, mass consumption, and mass disposal has caused serious environmental problems such as global warming, pollution, wastes and toxic substances. In this context, the value of effective use of biomass, a renewable, biologically derived organic resource, is receiving considerable attention. Many of the countries of Asia are rich in biomass resources due to their climate and other factors.

The Chinese government has recently made tremendous efforts to accelerate rural energy development. The rural energy policy aims at minimizing commercial fuel use by focusing on efficiency improvement and developing renewable energy technology. Under this policy, biomass energy the main energy source in rural areas, has been given top priority.

Wind Power

Wind turbines are increasingly seen as a viable solution for reducing reliance on fossil fuels, producing energy locally and fighting global climate change.

In 2010, China became the largest wind energy provider worldwide, with the installed wind power capacity reaching 41.8 GW at the end of 2010. The National People’s Congress permanent committee passed a law that requires the Chinese energy companies to purchase all the electricity produced by the renewable energy sector.

As part of the environmental goals included in Five-year plans of China’s 12th Five Year Plan (2011 – 2015) targets have been set for non-fossil energy to account for 11.4% of the total energy consumption, and for CO2 discharge per unit of GDP to reduce by 17%.

Solar Power

Commercial concentrated solar power plants were first developed in the 1980s. Solar power in China is one of the biggest industries in mainland China. China has over 400 photovoltaic (PV) companies and produces approximately 23% of the photovoltaic products worldwide. In 2007 China produced 1700 MW of solar panels, nearly half of the world production of 3800 MW, although 99% was exported. Approximately 80 MW of photovoltaics contribute towards power generation in China. Solar water heating is also extensively implemented.