The International Renewable Energy Agency has signed an agreement which will pair it with the People’s Government of Hebei Province in China to help the city of Zhangjiakou deliver on its promise of hosting a low-carbon Winter Olympics in 2022.
The agreement signed between the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the People’s Government of Hebei Province will also see the two work to turn the city of Zhangjiakou into China’s first energy transition pilot city and will seek to help the city make good on its promises to generate 50% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020.
The agreement was signed on Saturday the 24th between IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin and the Governor of Hebei Province, Xu Qin, and will result in the creation of a “low-carbon Olympic zone” in the city of Zhangjiakou, which is co-hosting the Winter 2022 Olympic Games with Beijing. Plans are currently being designed to ensure both the Olympic center and Olympic stadiums will be powered by renewable energy, and IRENA will also provide strategic advice so that the city can develop its own International Center for Renewable Energy Industry Innovation.
“China has made remarkable progress in the pursuit of renewable energy and in the transition towards a modern energy system,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin, speaking at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.
“From renewable energy adoption to technological innovation – China is emerging as a leader of the new energy economy and a key actor in energy transformation.
“The pursuit of a low-carbon Winter Olympics in 2022 will not only support China’s ambition to lower harmful emissions, but it will also see them pioneer a movement towards the cost-effective decarbonisation of the world’s greatest spectacles. This agreement reflects the Agency’s deepening cooperation with China and will facilitate a positive, two-way exchange of expertise and knowledge.”
The 2022 Winter Olympics will be the first major global sporting event held in China since the 2008 Summer Olympics which, sadly, was undermined by significant levels of air pollution caused by China’s intense manufacturing capacity, dirty vehicles, and heavy reliance on coal. Since then, however, and certainly by the time 2022 rolls around, China has made significant strides in reducing its reliance upon coal, cleaning up its dirty vehicles, and other major policy decisions to reverse the country’s nearly comically-bad pollution levels. Predictions that China’s use of coal will only continue to decrease over the next few years is good news for the Zhangjiakou Winter Olympics in 2022 and could represent a significant opportunity for China to reveal the tremendous work they have done.
Specifically, between 2012 and 2016 China saw its adoption of solar energy increase by 10-fold, and in 2017 alone the country installed 52.83 gigawatts (GW) worth of solar.
“President Xi Jinping’s strategic vision for an ecological civilization has significantly advanced environmental protection in China, greatly benefiting Chinese people whilst representing China’s contribution to global green development,” explained Governor of Hebei Province, Mr. Xu Qin, Governor of Hebei ProvinceXu Qin. “Hebei Province will realise the vision proposed by President Xi, by prioritising ecological protection and exercising green development, as we expedite the speed at which we build a beautiful Hebei.
“With abundant renewable energy resources – particularly the area of Zhangjiakou City – the potential of this cooperation with IRENA is broad and bright. As both sides work to advance R&D, technology innovation and the broader development of the renewable energy industry, this will support our planning for a low-carbon Winter Olympic Games.”
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