China wants 70,000 megawatts of solar by 2017, triple what they currently have

SunTech solar panel maker from china
© SunTech

Some pretty ambitious targets

China's air is just too polluted. As you can see on the map below, pollution from coal power plants (among other things) are fouling up the whole coast, which is where most people live. Things are so bad that a jar of fresh mountain air from France was actually sold at auction in Beijing and China's premier has declared a "war on pollution".

GP/Screen capture

Tripling solar capacity in a few years

At the end of 2013, China had almost 20 gigawatts (GW) solar capacity. The government's new goal for 2017 is to reach 70 GW of solar power, in addition to 150 GW of wind power, 11 GW of biomass, and 330 GW of hydropower. This should help it reach the target of 13% of power from sources other than fossil fuels, the main cause of air pollution in the country, on top of greenhouse gases.

Unfortunately, China also keeps approving the construction of more coal plants. To truly make progress fast enough, it should look for clean alternative to these. I understand that as hundred of millions of people are getting out of poverty, there's a huge increase in demand for electricity, but coal plants stick around for very long and are hard to shut down once built, so China shouldn't tie its own hands...

© SunTech

Before you point the finger at China for its air pollution, remember that most countries including the US have very smoggy pasts. What matters is fixing the problem, not blaming others, because there's plenty of blame to go around. Click on the photo below to see what Pittsburgh looked like a few decades ago:

© Smoke Control Lantern Slide Collection, ca. 1940-1950, AIS.1978.22, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.

Via Bloomberg, CleanTechnica

Tags: China | Solar Power

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