China has yet again ramped up its renewable energy commitments, with a plan to increase its solar energy capacity in 2015 by another 50 percent. The announcement comes in the wake of the climate talks in Durban, which finally achieved a legally-binding agreement for the worldâ€™s largest polluters to start curbing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
According to Chinaâ€™s National Radio, the National Energy Administration plans to increase solar capacity to 15 GW â€“ a huge increase from the 1 GW installed capacity at the end of 2010. While the plan may seem incredibly ambitious to some, the Chinese government has backed up its plans with aggressive action to deploy renewable energy as quickly as possible.
For instance, the governmentâ€™s introduction of feed-in-tariffs in the summer and guarantee to make higher payments for projects finished by the end of this year has created a surge in solar panel installation across the country.
In addition to investments in solar power, the Chinese government also has plans to install 100GW of wind capacity by 2015. The recent announcement revealed that 5 GW of that capacity would come from offshore wind farms.
Chinaâ€™s ambitious renewable energy plans should come as a wake-up call for the United States and other developed countries hesitant to embrace the green economy. Renewable energy is becoming an increasingly important investment in a world faced with climate change, and countries that fail to embrace the green economy may get left behind.
In order to compete with countries such as China, the US needs to leave behind vested interests in the fossil fuel industry and embark on a concerted strategy to make renewable energy a cornerstone of future economic development.
Image CC licensed by Taco Witte: Solar heater in Zhanglang, China