Bet­ter De­sign for Waste

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pro­ducer of so­lar en­ergy in terms of ca­pac­ity. Tran­si­tion­ing to re­new­able en­ergy will re­quire con­tin­ued fo­cus and ef­fort, given that the to­tal re­new­able en­ergy Re­cently, the Na­tional En­ergy Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NEA) noted that China has more than dou­bled its so­lar pro­duc­tion in 2016 – mak­ing it the biggest

out­put is only one per­cent of the coun­try’s to­tal en­ergy out­put.

Even though China is now the biggest pro­ducer of so­lar en­ergy, it doesn’t com­pare well to less pop­u­lated na­tions in terms of en­ergy-out­put ra­tio.

By the end of 2016, China hit 77.42 gi­gawatts, which gen­er­ated 66.2 bil­lion kilo­watt-hours of re­new­able power. While the raw num­bers may look a lot im­pres­sive, it’s rel­a­tively triv­ial if you con­sider the coun­try’s mas­sive pop­u­la­tion. China’s to­tal re­new­able en­ergy out­put only ac­counts for 1% of the to­tal gen­er­ated power.

Tak­ing into ac­count its gar­gan­tuan pop­u­la­tion, China’s re­new­able en­ergy ef­forts pale in com­par­i­son to de­vel­oped economies like the United States. China has al­most 17 times as many cit­i­zens as Ger­many and pro­duces less so­lar power per cit­i­zen than the Euro­pean nation.

“Ger­many

pro­duces around 500 watts per cit­i­zen, while China pro­duces about 65. Other de­vel­oped na­tions, in­clud­ing Ja­pan, Bel­gium, Italy, and the United States re­main far ahead of China in per­capita so­lar pro­duc­tion.”

Its cap­i­tal city, Bei­jing is hop­ing to ef­fec­tively cut its re­liance on coal and switch to nat­u­ral gas. Last week, the city’s ma­jor Cai Qi promised to make ex­tra abate­ment mea­sures to re­duce its coal con­sump­tion by an­other 30 per­cent.

Air qual­ity in Bei­jing is off the charts, ex­ceed­ing max­i­mum 500 mark on the in­dex. More than a dozen cities in the neigh­bor­ing He­bei and Shadong prov­inces re­main smog-shrouded. Cities in the past have closed schools and halted con­struc­tion work as the air qual­ity passed a thresh­old set by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) for hu­man safety.

In a con­fer­ence in Bei­jing last year, Nur Bekri, head of the Na­tional En­ergy Ad­min­is­tra­tion, said China aims to more than trip the

so­lar power ca­pac­ity by 2020. The coun­try plans to add a to­tal of 110 gi­gawatts of ca­pac­ity from green sources in the next five years. Ac­cord­ing to a Reuters re­port, China will be in­vest­ing 2.5 tril­lion yuan ($364 bil­lion) into re­new­able power gen­er­a­tion by 2020.

The ded­i­ca­tion to re­new­able en­ergy sources could put pres­sure on other na­tions to do the same. In­dia an­nounced yes­ter­day that their PV (so­lar pho­to­voltaic) ca­pac­ity had reached 9 gi­gawatts, out­pac­ing Ja­pan. Saudi Ara­bia, in re­sponse to the plum­met­ing oil prices, is in­vest­ing close to $50 bil­lion in so­lar and wind power. In Jan­uary, Ire­land passed a bill that would make it the first coun­try to com­pletely di­vest from fos­sil fu­els. Mean­while, other coun­tries are find­ing cre­ative ways of har­ness­ing green en­ergy for power. Ice­land, for ex­am­ple, is dig­ging a hole into a gi­ant vol­cano to bore the world’s deep­est geo­ther­mal hole.

China plans to add a to­tal of 110 gi­gawatts of ca­pac­ity from green sources in the next five years.

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