And China Takes the Lead . . .

Posted on February 17, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , |

China has overtaken erstwhile leaders Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United States to become the world’s largest maker of wind turbines.  China is already the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels. 

This news comes just after President Obama’s public edict proclaiming the need for America to lead in the clean energy revolution.  President Obama said “We can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow.  From the first railroads to the Interstate Highway System, our nation has always been built to compete. There’s no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.  The nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy.  And America must be that nation.”

Yet many Western and Chinese executives expect China to prevail in the energy-technology race.  China enjoys several advantages that are enabling its meteoric rise in clean energy.  The government of China has been investing heavily in upgrading its electricity grid, state-owned banks provide generous financing to incentivize clean energy, regulators have set mandates for power generation to use more renewable energy,  and the state provides subsidies for consumers who invest in clean energy.  In addition, China’s low labor costs and artificially undervalued currency are a big advantage in energy equipment manufacturing.  But China’s biggest advantage may be its soaring domestic demand for electricity as more of its citizens adopt a power hungry lifestyle.  This means that Chinese energy producers enjoy enormous efficiencies from large-scale production.

In response to complaints from the West about China’s unfair advantages, Ma Lingjuan, deputy managing director of China’s renewable energy association says “Every country wants low cost renewable energy.  Now China has reached that level, but it gets criticized by the rest of the world.”

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One Response to “And China Takes the Lead . . .”

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China uses these unfair advantages to make all sorts of things cheaper than others can. Solar and wind products are no exception. If Americans still believe that competition brings out the best in us, then they/we should rise to the challenge and get going. Get more gov’t policies in place. Make more solar panels. Sell more wind turbines in the international market. We are all one world. We need all the solar and wind we can get from all the countries that can crank them out.


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