China’s Xinhua recently announced that the nation’s share of electricity coming from “clean energy” has increased to 20.2%, 3.3% more than at the same time last year. As you may well know, “clean energy,” according to China, includes nuclear and large-scale hydropower.
In the first 11 months of 2012, the China State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) reports that there was 20.3% increase in electricity generated from clean energy sources (compared to 2011)… resulting in, coincidentally, the 20.2% figure noted above.
Climate Connect writes: “In the first eleven months of 2012, 877 billion kWh of electricity was generated from non-fossil based sources. Country’s clean energy power generation was 74.8 billion kWh in November; but a decrease in clean energy generation as compared to October, 2012.”
During these 11 months, hydropower grew by 19.4%, nuclear power grew by 22.9% and wind power grew by 54.2%.
“Clean energy” is a rather nebulous term, as I note over on our Clean Energy page. For those who support nuclear power and don’t think nuclear waste is anything to worry about, nuclear is include. As I note on the page above, until it’s clear we can really find a way to get rid of highly radioactive nuclear waste, we hear at CleanTechnica don’t consider nuclear to be clean.
Beyond the nuclear issue, large-scale hydropower has been shown to have horrible effects on ecosystems, human populations, and even global warming in some cases. So, in summary, some hydropower certainly deserves to be callen clean, while some projects should actually be filed under the dirty column. From what I’ve read (though, admittedly, I haven’t read a ton on this subject), China’s hydropower projects shouldn’t be trumpeted as clean energy. If you have more info on this subject, though, please share it with us.
China recently increased its 2015 solar power capacity target to 40 GW (40,000 MW). Less than two years ago, the same 2015 target was just 5 GW — it has increased 8 times over in just about 19 months. The country also plans strong wind power growth.
Furthermore, China is putting a cap on its coal production and use in 2015, and it has scaled back its nuclear power plans. So, while its emissions aren’t going to decrease anytime soon, it is putting a lot into clean energy, and the long-term goal seems to be cleaning up its electricity production. Also, I think the country’s leaders are well aware of its growing drought, flooding, and other extreme weather concerns, as well as the fact that these threats only grow in size with coal-fueled global warming.
If you have any thoughts on this recent news, or China’s electricity production and goals, in general, feel free to chime in below!
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I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.