The Difficulties for Clean Energy Development in China
The problem of energy and environment is always a big issue for our country and the whole world, which we can see everywhere in newspapers, magazines, TV news programs, and some important government documents. All the experts and scholars say that, Energy scarcity, energy security, environmental pollution and climate change, which mainly caused by fossil energy consumption, those are the most important challenges China faces right now. When I first hear that, I am curious why we could not use clean energy to solve all these problems, because in my mind, it could be the perfect solution. However, after I started my postgraduate studies, I came to understand the difficulties for the development of clean energy in China. Firstly, we must keep in mind that the use of clean energy is a tiny part of China’s whole energy consumption. In 2012, the non-fossil energy share of total primary energy consumption was only 9%, while the coal consumption was about 70%. It’s quite difficult to replace coal with clean energy. Besides of the little proportion, further developing clean energy remains a big challenge for the country. The high cost is the first obstacle. Coal is much cheaper compared to clean energy. Rapid economic growth requires sufficient and affordable energy. Given China's emphasis on social stability, the cost of energy is a highly sensitive issue, and that directly affects the development of clean energy. The need to keep energy costs down could reduce China's potential for clean development. The second obstacle is the "quality" of clean energy. From the perspectives of supply stability, the large-scale transmission of renewable energy poses great challenges for the power grid. Wind, solar and other clean energies will require huge investment to become meaningful alternatives to the country's coal-dominated power industry. Finally, the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan in 2011 had cast a shadow on the...
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