The Chinese Paradox: World’s Most Polluting Nation Becoming the Largest Producer of Green Energy

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Many of us know China as a nation with a high population density, and a pretty high pollution level — in fact, the highest in the world. Fortunately, China has taken responsibility for its ecological footprint and is actively changing its ways. Already a big player in the renewable energy field – it’s where the most electric cars are sold in the world – China’s green energy level is rising, and we could all learn quite a bit about how to make the big, necessary shift toward cleaner energy.

Not too long ago, in December of 2017, when Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol traveled to Beijing to meet with China’s Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, the two representatives discussed China’s options in improving their energy situation. By the end of the conversation, China had pledged to invest $367 billion by 2020, and work to meet their final goal in 2030. And by final goal, China intends to have 20% of its total energy coming from renewable sources.

If you think that China is in over their heads, you’ll be surprised to know that they are actually beating the odds. Already in 2015, their wind capacity was as great as that of the United States, India and Germany combined. In 2016, the McKinsey Global Institute announced that China is the world’s leading producer in solar energy, and has double the total amount of energy produced in 2016 alone.

The race is on, and the speed China is improving is definitely something to keep an eye on. In fact, China is not only reducing their impact on the environment, but it’s also leading the way in the industrial side of renewable energy as well. Already the top producer in the world for renewable energy technologies in general, they’re producing two-thirds of the solar panels around the world, and half of its wind turbines. An image that is famous around the world, and which shows the impressive dedication China has to the project, is the floating solar energy plant in Anhui. The plant produces energy for 15,000 homes and is made up of 100 square miles of floating solar panels on a lake.

And because there’s always a third point to most projects, China is also working on improving their green energy production to hopefully end the pollution-related casualties in the nation with about 1.1 million deaths each year. To do so, China is planning on distancing themselves from coal usage as much as possible, but also trying to make it an easy transition for the 1.3 million workers that will lose their jobs. Fortunately though with the green energy project, China’s National Energy Administration estimates that 10 million jobs will be introduced.

And although there’s still a bit of time before we see the final results, China’s dedication to the
cause has surpassed every other of its kind. Because they have a long way to go, there’s a lot to celebrate if they meet their goals. We can’t wait to see what comes of it.

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