China Building To Dominate 21st Century’s Renewable Energy Sector And Fight Climate Change
Solar Panel Factory In China Photo: AP
The U.S., Russia and Saudi Arabia may have dominated the 20th-century energy market, but according to an in-depth article in yesterday’s Houston Chronicle, China is now determined to dominate the 21st-century market in which energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions have become paramount for nations contending with climate change. China already is the dominant player supplying wind turbines and solar panels to the world and now they are spending billions on new factories to dominate the global market to supply batteries and electric cars.
Why This Matters: The United States, thanks to President Trump and his desire to prop up the dying coal, gas, and oil industries, is falling behind in this competition for the future energy market. And the sad thing is that it did not have to be this way. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in 2011 the U.S. led the world in investments in developing clean energy technology such as wind turbines and batteries thanks to billions of dollars from the Obama Administration. But in the last five years, China has outspent the United States two to one, investing more than $600 billion in renewable energy. We are — despite the President — becoming one of the biggest markets for renewable energy technology (behind China itself) so we will benefit from lower levels of pollution and cheaper energy, but we will not be selling our technology to the rest of the world, instead, they will be buying it from China.
You Can Feel China’s Energy Around EVs
As we reported earlier this year, Tesla’s stock price soared after news broke that the factory it is building in China is making good progress toward its opening. In the exurbs of Shanghai, according to The Chronicle, charging stations for EVs outnumber gas stations, and China’s largest manufacturer of trucks is making autonomous truck convoys, where a single manned vehicle leads five or six self-driving, electric trucks. “This is where things are happening,” said Jon Fold von Bulow, project manager at a joint venture between a Chinese startup and Danish chemical firm Haldor Topsoe to develop catalysts for batteries and refineries. “You can feel the energy around electric vehicles.”
And They May Not Want to Buy Gas From Texas
There has been a big buildup of capacity across the Texas Gulf Coast (liquefied natural gas and crude export terminals, sprawling petrochemical plants and miles of pipelines have all been built), and other parts of the U.S. to pump out and export crude oil and natural gas to China. But China may not be buying. The Chronicle explains that China is “moving rapidly to develop its own energy sector. It is not only expanding its capacity to produce and process energy, but also transforming how energy is used when the world is looking to lower emissions to address climate change.” The bottom line: “How this plays out more than 7,000 miles from Houston may well determine whether multibillion-dollar bets made along the Gulf Coast during the past decade pay off.”