Barely a week goes by without new evidence of the greening of China. This is great news for the planet—but some people say it’s bad for the U.S.
Are they right to worry?
What got me thinking about this was a phone conversation the other day with Bill Gross, the brilliant and tireless entrepreneur who is the chief executive of eSolar and a founder of electric-car startup Aptera.
Bill was calling with great news for eSolar, a Pasadena, Ca-based firm that makes software and equipment for utility-scale solar thermal power plants. This weekend in Beijing, eSolar announced a deal with a Chinese electrical-power manufacturer to build at least 2 gigawatts (2,000 megawatts) of solar thermal power plants over the next 10 years, beginning with a 92-megawatt plant that will break ground this year.
“China is really moving fast to implement as many green technologies as they can, to become experts at them and to scale them up,” Bill told me. “It’s a statement that China is thinking about clean energy for the long term.”
I’m hearing this more and more. Tulsi Tanti, who runs a big Indian wind power company called Suzlon, told me last month in Copenhagen that China is his biggest market. My blogging colleague Jesse Jenkins (at The Energy Collective) has written about a report from the Breakthrough Institute, where he works, called Rising Tigers, Sleeping Giant (available here as a PDF) that argues, among other things, that:
Asia’s rising “clean technology tigers” – China, Japan, and South Korea – have already passed the United States in the production of virtually all clean energy technologies, and over the next five years, the government’s of these nations will out-invest the United States three-to-one in these sectors.