China, which is closing inefficient coal plants and making more fuel-efficient cars, is often seen as the world’s superpower in developing wind and solar energy. But despite these eco-efforts, will its surging demand for consumer goods worsen climate change?
Yes, suggests an interesting article in today’s New York Times. It says “the billionfold demands” of Chinese consumers, eager to improve their standard of living, are overwhelming the world’s “most rigorous national energy campaign.”
Ummm, not exactly. Energy companies in China are finding that even with their significantly lower cost structures, lax environmental regulations, free land and nearly perfect wind conditions, they can’t turn a profit:
The only opportunity to turn a profit is when electricity is sold to the grid. Even then, say industry insiders, the ability to make money depends on national tariff-setting policies and subsidies: “If there’s no subsidy, there’s no hope of a profit,” one says.
This creates conflict. The high costs of wind power have long held back growth of the sector. But the grid operators, for their own reasons, are also unwilling to buy wind power.
Electricity generated by wind in Jiuquan is currently sold to the grid for about 0.53 yuan (US$0.08) per kilowatt hour, higher than the 0.20 yuan (US$0.03) and 0.35 yuan (US$0.05) paid for coal and hydropower respectively. In Inner Mongolia, Hebei and the north east of China, the wind-power tariff has risen to about 0.60 yuan (US$0.08) per kilowatt hour and, in Jilin, to about 0.70 yuan (US$0.10), creating an even bigger gulf between the price of wind and that of coal and hydropower. (emphasis added)
Costs are not the biggest problem with ‘renewable-green energy’, contrary to the USA Today ‘Green House’ crew’s assertions, large scale projects don’t work. Even on the tiny island of Eigg off the coast of Scotland is demonstrating that fact that green energy doesn’t work.
Nations that have made big pushes for green energy such as Denmark and Germany have not closed a single coal power plant. Furthermore, Germany is adding additional coal power plants as ‘back up’ to ineffective ‘green energy’ initiatives.