14 July 2011
As the world prepares for next year’s Rio + 20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, it seems that China and the other fast-emerging economies of the developing world have overtaken Europe in terms of investment in renewable energy.
According to a new report commissioned by the UN Environment Programme, investment in large-scale renewable projects such as solar and wind farms totaled $72 billion in the developing world, outstripping industrialized economies by $2 billion in 2010. China accounted for 70 percent, investing $50 billion in clean energy projects, mostly in the form of wind technology.
China’s production of wind turbines, some in collaboration with European partners like the one pictured above at a small fishing port on the Jiangsu coast, are mainly for the domestic market. By the end of 2010, China had only sold 13 turbines abroad. But that strategy is changing. China Longyuan, China’s largest wind power developer, has just acquired the rights to develop a 100 megawatt project in Ontario, Canada. Earlier this month, Sinovel, China’s largest domestic wind turbine manufacturer, concluded a deal to build a 1000 megawatt wind farm in Ireland.
Although China’s target is to produce 15 percent of its energy requirements from renewables by 2020, it is likely that an increasing share of its investment in this sector will be for the export market.