by Qiong Xie

China’s offshore wind industry is gaining momentum and entering the large-scale development phase. China’s National Energy Bureau plans to boost the country’s offshore wind capacity to 5 gigawatts (GW) by 2015. And by 2020, according to the Chinese government’s Renewable Energy Plan of the 12th Five-Year Plan, China endeavors to further increase its offshore wind power capacity to 30 GW. Given the fact that China had only installed 142.5 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind turbines as of June 2011, reaching 5 GW in five years requires a big jump both for policymakers and companies.  Meeting these ambitious targets will require a vigorous renewable energy action plan and substantial financial investments. Offshore wind turbine technologies at various depths

There are several reasons why China has turned its attention to offshore wind power. According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2011, China overtook the US in 2010 to become the world’s top energy consumer with a 20.3 percent share of global energy consumption. China also surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter in 2006. In order to secure a sustainable energy supply, China is pursuing renewable energy and energy efficiency. Currently, coal generation accounts for 80 percent of China’s electricity production, much of which comes from old and inefficient plants that contribute to severe air pollution and other health and environment impacts. China has recognized the economic and environmental need to adopt renewable energy such as offshore-wind to generate electricity. At the end of 2008, clean energy including hydro, wind, solar, biomass, biogas, geothermal and ethanol contributed 9 percent of China’s total primary energy use. In 2009, total installed wind power capacity in China reached 26 GW.

Read the rest of this entry

China, Green Technology, offshore wind, renewable energy R&D

Bjørn Lomborg—one of the most controversial figures on the climate change scene—previewed his new film, “Cool It,” at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday, October 5, in Washington, D.C.  Directed by Ondi Timoner, “Cool It” is a documentary that begins by chronicling Lomborg’s early life and career in Denmark and ends by outlining his plan to mitigate the impacts of climate change. This may seem like a reversal of course for a self-proclaimed “skeptical environmentalist,” but Lomborg maintains he has always thought that climate change is a real and important issue. He said in my conversation with him after the screening that he felt climate change needed to be addressed, and that the film is a vehicle to articulate his solutions.

Bjørn Lomborg

Bjørn Lomborg - Wikimedia Creative Commons / Simon Wedege

Lomborg proposes a plan that relies on investment in research and development. The plan has a budget of $250 billion per year, set to equal an estimate of what the EU will spend to reach its two key climate policy goals: 1) reducing greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and 2) simultaneously achieving a 20 percent renewable share in its overall energy supply. In this assessment of the EU 20/20/20 policy for the Copenhagen Consensus Center (a think-tank that Lomborg founded and now directs), the policy would yield only three cents of benefit for every Euro invested and decrease global temperature by just 0.05 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Rather, Lomborg argues, this money, equivalent to 1.3 percent of the EU’s GDP, should be invested in research and development.  He suggests that such an R&D fund be financed by a global carbon tax of $7 per metric ton. [For more on the economics of climate change, read the recent ReVolt post, “Climate Change and Its Cost – What Is at Stake?”]

In “Cool It,” Lomborg explains his plan to invest $100 billion a year on R&D of green energy technologies and $1 billion a year on R&D for geo-engineering. While the film spends most of its 89 minutes discussing new green energy technologies, it does highlight some geo-engineering proposals that plan to temporarily manipulate Earth’s climate to offset the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions. [Geo-engineering will be the topic of a forthcoming ReVolt post.] After the R&D, there is $149 billion a year left in his budget, which Lomborg intends to spend on adaptive technologies (retroactive climate change management) and other pressing global issues, such as poverty, malnutrition, and clean drinking water.

Read the rest of this entry

Bjørn Lomborg, Climate Change, Cool It, EU 20/20/20 policy, Green Technology, Heritage Foundation, low-carbon roadmap, Ondi Timoner, renewable energy investment, renewable energy R&D, research and development, Skeptical Environmentalist