I am bringing some very beautiful pictures to the 8th Angkor Photo Festival that runs from Dec 1st to 8th. They are pictures of wind turbines from different parts of China. Either in the middle of the desert in north-western China, or along the south eastern coast line, or even right by the lakes overlooking people's houses, these giants stand there quietly yet proudly turning and churning, sending clean energy to people's houses and hungry industries.

Windmills in China

They represent the 50,000 wind turbines all over China, with almost each province having its own wind farm. Without a doubt, China is the largest producer of wind turbines, and China has the world's largest installed wind power capacity.

In 2011 alone, thanks to these giants, China, the world's largest climate polluter, avoided burning at least 22 million tons of dirty coal and consequently avoided the emission of at least 70 million tons of carbon dioxide!

Wind tirbines in ChinaHowever, currently, these giants are not happy because some of them are just standing around idly, not being called on or mobilised to do more! Wind power shares only 1.5% of China's total electricity output, and we all, especially China's economy planner, the National Development and Reform Commission and the key player the State Grid, know there is much more these giants can do.

"Beautiful China" became the new "hot word" on November 8th, 2012, when President Hu Jintao gave his opening speech at the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China. He pictured a beautiful China which launches an energy revolution that welcomes low-carbon industries, high energy efficiency, and strong development of renewable energy.

This is a concept or a dream in contrast and it makes today's reality even more appalling. The reality is that coal is still the main source of energy. While providing around 70% of China's electricity, coal is one of the major sources for air pollution, water pollution and soil pollution. It is taking precious water away from sheep and horses, it is emptying mountains and collapsing pagodas and temples that have survived 2000 years and it is also sending people into hospitals with lung cancer or mercury poisoning.

The grid system in China is in urgent need of improvement to be able to bring wind power generated by these beautiful giants in these corners to millions of households and industries.

A beautiful China will have to become a smart China, empowered by these giants who are ready. A beautiful China will be one that doesn't exist only in these pictures I am bringing to Angkor but also right in our life, in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, in the glaciers on the Himalayas and in a safe future for our children.


The writer is a Web Editor with Greenpeace China.

Click here for more Greenpeace images from the Angkor Photo Festival