Coal consumption is on the rise for the first time in three years, but the country is still a renewable energy powerhouse, writes Mark Hillsdon
China is in the midst of a green revolution. The government has committed to spend at least $260 billion on clean energy projects by 2020 as it seeks to wean itself off dirty coal, and, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), China is now the world leader in renewable energy investment.
Chinese manufacturers have changed the economics of renewable power, cutting costs so that it can compete with fossils fuels. Five of the world’s top six solar companies, and six of the 10 major electric car manufacturers, are Chinese, while Goldwind, United Power and Envision Energy compete with Danish and German wind turbine manufacturers. China also dominates the mining of lithium and cobalt, which are integral to the new generation of batteries. And, as we reported last month, it is China that has taken the lead on trying to address human rights issues in the cobalt supply chain (see Electric car makers in drive to remove human rights stain from cobalt)
An increasingly powerful urban middle class has pushed air pollution closer to the top of the government’s agenda
There are several factors behind this green surge. China was quick to move into the space...