China. A country that we're hearing a lot about in the eco-community lately. Mostly doom & gloom, but a few encouraging things like this China Daily
article which reports that China plans to "make offshore wind farms a key part of its renewable energy program within two or three decades." With wind turbines ideally 50 kilometers (30 miles) off the coasts, it's estimated that Chinese sea winds could generate 750 gigawatts. This further confirms what we've reported two days ago: wind has tremendous potential
.The bad part of that positive announcement is that they are way too slow, like most of the rest of the world, except that China doesn't have the excuse of already having a big clunky infrastructure in place that would have to be scrapped. The China Daily article says that right now few wind farm projects are under way and they estimate that only 1% of the country's electricity consumption (20 gigawatts) would come from wind by 2020. I know that 1 percent of anything in China is a lot, but that's just another reason why the mostly dirty 99 other percent must be dealt with as fast as possible. If it takes 15 years to generate only 1% from wind, and in that time maybe another percent to solar and a few more percent to nuclear (which has its own litany of problems), it's bad news
. Just too s-l-o-w.
My optimistic guess is that the rhythm will accelerate when the price of oil goes through the roof (the other roof, above the one it already went through) and China realizes that it can't keep up what it's doing. A kind of feedback loop which would hopefully lead to an explosion of renewable power sources in China and elsewhere.
::China to build wind farms offshore, via WorldChanging & Sustainablog