With a population that continues to grow, meeting the energy needs of China’s near-1.4 billion people will prove extremely challenging in the decades to come. However, the superpower’s energy sector has begun to take action by looking away from coal and oil to heat and light up its’ citizens homes.
The recent unveiling of the so-called “Solar Panda” is intriguing for a number of reasons. One its the solar power plant’s unique appearance, which from above looks like a cute panda! The other is the sheer size of it - if successful, it could power thousands, if not millions of homes. Furthermore, it could hint at a move towards using renewable energy to meet growing demand.
Renewable energy has thus far been used sparingly in China. Coal is king as far as where its citizens get their electricity from. The Solar Panda is an ambitious attempt to try and guarantee future energy supplies, as well as meet environmental targets as discussed for the Paris Agreement.
Proof of China’s determination to cut its CO2 emissions and clean up its act comes from the Qinghai Province, where the entire region ran on just renewable energy for seven days. Hydroelectric power was the main reason why Qinghai was able to achieve that, but how will solar work?
If successful, the Solar Panda is likely to be built across the country. Its owners plan on opening 100 power plants in China alone, with other major countries who signed the Paris Agreement on their radar. In 2016, around 25% of all energy consumed was from renewable sources, but there is plenty of room for improvement.
The moves made by Chinese authorities to expand use of green energy is sure to create millions of jobs in the next few years. Gradually reducing reliance on coal and going for solar, hydroelectric and wind power will give it every chance of meeting environmental targets by 2020. This picture needs to be replicated elsewhere if global warming is to be staved off.
Through a combination of environmental and economic need, the green sector is experiencing significant growth in many parts of the world. Europe is not one of them, owing largely to a lack of finance. Spain, Italy and France are all in a state of economic flux, whilst austerity and anxiety over how the post-Brexit economy will look has seen green energy stall in the UK.
European businesses looking to develop green energy solutions may need help to finance investment in offshore wind farms, solar power plants and so on. Businesses in need of trade finance could look for a broker. With a helping hand to find the necessary funds, the smallest wind turbine to the biggest solar power plant could take shape.
Investment is essential if renewable energy use is to gain traction. As has been shown in China, a little innovation and plenty of ambition can make a difference. This doesn’t seem to be the case in the UK, though. Many energy investors from the UK and overseas claimed to be underwhelmed by the country’s renewable market.
Changes in policy are needed to make it easier to invest in renewable energy. Loosening the purse strings and removing some of the red tape will enable projects like the Solar Panda to take place across the world, providing jobs and secure energy supplies in the process.