Everyone needs a China strategy. Even China.
With a burgeoning population rapidly growing in number and affluence, and a manufacturing sector serving the world as well as driving infrastructure development at home, China’s sheer mass demands that it be accounted for in every field. Of special concern are energy and the environment: What will be the impacts of all the new energy resources required?
That’s why China’s new commitment to a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard is such good news. Fifteen percent by 2020 may not offset the new carbon emissions produced by its spectacular growth, but it’s sure better than the U.S. federal RPS (0% by never). And the investment — estimated to be U.S. $184 billion — will help build the economies of scale key to bringing down costs in renewable industries.
Here’s hoping China’s investment means the same for renewables as it has for t-shirts, tchotchkes, and damn near everything: What was once expensive now made dirt cheap and plentiful. Renewable Energy Access goes into some more depth on the story, and the Energy Foundation is a source of information and optimism (PDF). For those interested in the solar side of things, a new site focuses on China’s solar industry. Of particular interest to solar aficianados is China’s investment in producing solar-grade silicon, the feedstock for photovoltaics and the current bottleneck in the industry.