"China is on the verge of a major breakthrough. If it acts now it could be the major player in the global energy revolution", said Steve Sawyer, Greenpeace Policy and Business Unit Director. With the passage of a progressive Renewable Energy Promotion Law, China is expected to significantly address its growing environmental and energy security concerns.
The Chinese version of "Wind Force 12", jointly launched by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA) and Greenpeace, shows that massive investment in wind energy can provide a key solution to energy issues. The report demonstrates that by 2020 wind power can deliver 12% of the world's electricity, develop into an annual EUR75 billion business and create close to 2 million jobs.
In China, the scenario outlines:
- 170,000 MW of wind power installed, generating 417 TWh of electricity.
- Total cumulative investment of EUR105 billion
- 382,000 jobs created
- annual reduction of 325 million tonnes of CO2
Speaking at the conference, Xu Dingming, Director General of the Energy Bureau of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said "I have a golden dream. Wind energy is clean, unselfish and powerful - I hope my dream comes true". Zhu Junsheng, President of CREIA added, "For 100 years since the industrial revolution, we have always looked down for our energy resources which has made our environment sick. Now is the time to look upwards to the sun and the wind".
Yu Jie, Greenpeace energy campaigner said, "The massive development of wind energy means more than just environmental benefits for China. Going for wind means securing jobs and industries and addressing China's long-term energy security".
"Wind energy is a significant and powerful resource. It is safe, clean, abundant and limitless, providing an endless, secure energy supply. Modern wind farms provide bulk power equivalent to conventional power stations, and in the future we will see the boundaries of technological progress pushed further to bring even greater benefits. The wind industry can increase its sales tenfold by the year 2020, from the present EUR 8 billion in 2003 to EUR 75 billion. The wind industry is the world's best opportunity to begin the transition to a global economy based on sustainable energy", said Niels Immerkjaer, for EWEA at the conference in Beijing.
Over 200 participants, composed of top-level governmental officials and international energy policy experts, will next week draft the Renewable Energy Promotion Law in Beijing, signalling China's intent to address environmental and energy concerns.
China has to address the serious environmental and energy security concerns it is facing. In the last few weeks alone there have been further stark reminders of the impacts of climate change in China, including rapidly retreating glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau.
(1) "Global warming may melt two thirds of the glaciers on the mainland by mid-century, putting 300 million people at risk..Yulong Snow Mountain glacier Baishui No.1 in Yunnan has receded 250 metres in the past two decades" - AFP 14th May, 2004