Energizing China and U.S.

Energizing China and U.S.

Summary: Energy, the economic battleground for the future dominance.

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TOPICS: China, Telcos
17

Past wars have been fought over many things: power, land, wealth, religion, food. Right now we’re seeing a non-violent battle to dominate the world’s renewable energy industry. Not only does this obviate the need to control the remaining oil reserves in the Middle East, it could portend the economic and power balance for the rest of this young century.

CHINA #1

China is now the #1 maker of hardware for the two most widespread sources of renewable energy: wind and solar. Another key element of the post-fossil-fuel world will be energy storage. Here, also, China is a major player.

In addition to heavy government support for wind and solar components in China, the country is moving into making nuclear power plant parts as well. Even companies based elsewhere are building factories to produce renewable energy equipment in China which promises to be the world’s #1 market for new energy hardware. China has very little oil and insufficient coal to support its economy right now. As growth continues, China will become the world’s #1 energy consumer and thus the government there is pushing for more renewable energy production for both home and export markets.

The U.S. is not standing still, it’s rapidly expanding its renewable energy capacity. Wind power generation capacity has grown at 39% for each of the past five years, recession or not. The world’s largest wind farm is right now in Texas. But probably not for long as China pushes hard for an across-the-broad lead.

Here's the CNET story on the opening of the Roscoe, Texas, Wind Farm last fall. Roscoe Wind Farm.. Courtesy: E.on The MSM is now picking up on the China v US race for control of alternative energy tech.

FEDS GREENING

I blogged earlier this week about the green threads running through President Obama SOU speech and his order to cut government energy use.

One example of what the feds are doing can be found in Portland, Oregon, one of America’s greener cities. The main federal building there will be shaded on the south side by a living curtain. CARBON TRADING, AMERICAN STYLE

It look highly unlikely that this Congress will agree on any kind of new national energy legislation. So many of the carbon trading schemes that have been championed by various groups are going to be tried on regional or voluntary bases. Here’s the website of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

It operates in ten states. It is a cap and trade system for electricity generators in the participating states.

Across the woodlands of America, another quiet change. I’m not talking hotter temps, but voluntary carbon credit market growth. Small woodland owners in Oregon are now able to sell their forests’ carbon storage capacity. The American Forest Foundation and its allies have been pushing to get federal statutory support for forests as carbon sinks. With that looking unlikely the grassroots programs may move ahead anyway.

ENERGY RESEARCH?

It looks likely that research on energy will continue to grow in the U.S. Despite plans for overall belt-tightening by the Obama Administration, one source says there’ll be a 6% increase in money for research in the proposed budget.

WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

One estimate is that Silicon Valley is America’s leader in cleantech jobs with about 7-thousand. Solar and smart grid are two areas where there are numerous Silicon Valley start-ups. That’s in response to the current federal estimate of a 30% increase in U.S. electricity demand by 2030.

Topics: China, Telcos

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17 comments
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  • One problem I see with renewable production

    Is exemplified by this story about solar panel manufacturing being moved to China to save costs:

    http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2009/11/05/evergreen-solar-to-move-solar-panel-production-from-massachusetts-to-china/

    Maybe if the government and environmental groups horse around long enough we will be able to by our nuclear plants from them too. Until the pay scale for American workers comes down to $1.25 per day, without benefits, there's not much hope for American jobs.
    Bill4
    • Hmm

      So cheaper countries in which to manufacture are where business are
      getting their stuff manufactured. Surprise?

      Is this the battle Harry is talking about? If so wasn't this battle fought
      some time ago, the ground conceded?
      Richard Flude
      • Exactly so. nt

        nt
        Bill4
    • But you forget the Transaction Costs...

      which are being artificially subsidized. It costs a LOT of money to ship parts across the ocean and back between China and the US. This cost is being artificially subsidized.

      Cut that out and American workers become more competitive again.
      mejohnsn
  • Reality disconnect

    "Right now we?re seeing a non-violent battle to dominate
    the world?s renewable energy industry."

    Where? Because a few countries are manufacturing heavily
    subsidised green energy alternatives. How does one
    dominated wind generation technologies or indeed solar?

    Harry just how does Chinese growth in green energy (excluding
    hydro) productive capacity compare with coal fire power
    expansion? ;-)

    "So many of the carbon trading schemes that have been
    championed by various groups are going to be tried on
    regional or voluntary bases."

    The biggest has been operating in the EU for some years.
    Harry why don't you report on how well it's going? ;-)

    "Despite plans for overall belt-tightening by the Obama
    Administration, one source says there?ll be a 6% increase in
    money for research in the proposed budget."

    Can you outline these belt tightening plans? I only get reports of
    massive deficit increases ;-)

    "Solar and smart grid are two areas where there are
    numerous Silicon Valley start-ups. That?s in response to
    the current federal estimate of a 30% increase in U.S.
    electricity demand by 2030."

    What's the correlation between increase energy demand
    and solar/smart grid start-ups? ;-)

    Now compare with availability of green tech subsidies / grants and the
    numbers of start-ups. Worth researching this don't you
    think Harry? ;-)
    Richard Flude
    • Good breakdown of Harry's hysterical nonsense.

      Harry is probably good at SOMEthing. It just ain't journalism.

      Maybe bird counting is his forte.

      Maybe he should get some counselling - for people who get anxious about anything.
      GrandmaLee
    • This was a Weak Point in his Reasoning.

      And quite a big one: they are bringing on another coal-fired electric power generating plant EVERY WEEK. This despite Harry's claim they don't have enough coal.

      So you are quite right to ask: "Harry just how does Chinese growth in green energy (excluding
      hydro) productive capacity compare with coal fire power
      expansion?"
      mejohnsn
      • China: coal and alternative energy

        Sure China, like the US, is heavily dependent on coal...much of which it imports from pushers like Australia...but China suspects there's not an endless supply of coal and prices could go up so they are heavily hedging (a good capitalist term these "commies" have co-opted) their future with heavy solar and wind investment...of course, they have the advantage right now of not needing to turn a profit because they use the market but China is authoritarian and they control labor and cAPITAl costs in their own economy. As oil runs out, the U.S.'s greatest economic hope is its creativity and innovation. Without it, the U.S. becomes an agricultural state with little else to export. And remember, China does not have a huge and expensive military empire to maintain outside its own borders so it can pour billions into domestic investment without needing a profit in return. If we do ever become dependent on renewable energy they could own the market on hardware.
        --Harry Fuller
        atowhee
    • Reality realization

      Sure China is the number 1 producer of CO2 from its filthy coal plants. And its building more coal plants all the time...but it is hedging (commies co-opt capitalist ideas) its energy future by building hardware dominance in wind and solar, the two most prevalent sources of renewable energy. Sure it's going to pollute as much as possible for as long as possible, just like the U.S. But China's hedging its future while we argue about temperature curves and climate change. China doesn't care, they understand the one incontrovertible fact: fossil fuel supplies are finite. Everywhere. Forever. We're not producing more coal. Having no quarterly reports to create, having no profit to provide shareholders, authoritarian China right now has the advantage of being able to shape its own economy at will. We must all hope that once again American innovation and risk-taking can pull our economic bacon from the global bonfire of vanities.
      Correlation between energy use and start-ups? If American energy conservation (not the recesssion) was producing annual decreases in electricity use, there would be much less interest in clean energy generation. The alleged supply of coal is decades deep so why bother if energy use isn't actually going to increase?
      --Harry Fuller
      atowhee
      • Thanks Harry

        "but it is hedging (commies co-opt capitalist ideas) its energy future by building hardware dominance in wind and solar"

        It's hardly hedging it's bets. A few token renewable project is nothing. China's expanding energy generation is coal by a huge margin. Each plant commissioned has greater generation (projected to be around 1 a month) capacity than their entire renewals (excluding hydro).

        "Correlation between energy use and start-ups?"

        Point is there isn't any. There is with subsidies. Taxpayers enjoy.

        It's a mistake to believe communist country's talk and projects (a situation that is spreading - spin). Simply another great leap forward document.
        Richard Flude
  • Belt Tightening?

    [B]Despite plans for overall belt-tightening by the Obama Administration[/B]

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100201/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_budget
    [B]President Barack Obama's proposed budget predicts the national deficit will crest at a record-breaking almost $1.6 trillion in the current fiscal year, then start to recede in 2011 to just below $1.3 trillion.
    ...
    Still, the administration's new budget to be released Monday says deficits over the next decade will average 4.5 percent of the size of the economy, a level that economists say is dangerously high if not addressed.
    [/B]

    Just our budget SHORTFALLS will be 4.5% of GDP. We are our own worst enemies, China doesn't matter. Spending 40% over your take home pay year is insane.

    TripleII
    TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
  • Harry, some painful facts for you.

    http://cfact.eu/

    But then again, being the spineless whimp that you are, you will never admit that you were wrong all along with your hysterical rants.

    What are you doing on ZDNet anyway?
    GrandmaLee
    • I've got a question....

      Ok, lets say for a minute that fossil fuels aren't doing a thing to the environment.

      Wouldn't it be prudent to migrate to other forms of energy (think nuclear, fuel cells, hydro, geo-thermal) that reduce our need to depend on hostile foreign countries?

      We don't have enough oil in the U.S. to last 50 years, so let's be proactive. I would say coal would be a good alternative - we have plenty, but it's bad stuff. And I don't mean the CO2 - I mean the heavy metals, open pit mines, and large waste pools that break open and wipe towns off the map every so often.

      So answer me this - the oil production and reserves in this country are no match for our consumption. Foreign energy reliance is a grave threat to national security. Regardless of global warming - maybe we should start doing something now so we're not up to our necks in 30 years? Looking to the future is not really something we're good at these days, it's all about me and a short-sided view of things.
      crazydanr@...
      • I've got answers

        "Wouldn't it be prudent to migrate to other forms of energy (think nuclear, fuel cells, hydro, geo-thermal) that reduce our need to depend on hostile foreign countries?"

        At what cost? Doesn't the US now depend on these same countries to finance their deficits? What's the differnce?

        "I would say coal would be a good alternative - we have plenty, but it's bad stuff. And I don't mean the CO2 - I mean the heavy metals, open pit mines, and large waste pools that break open and wipe towns off the map every so often."

        Any source of energy has costs. Coal generation is extremely efficient and well understood. When was the last US town wiped off the map by coal?

        "Regardless of global warming - maybe we should start doing something now so we're not up to our necks in 30 years?"

        We've been doing something for decades, however commerical alternatives don't exist today. But the effort countinues.

        Don't condem those in developing countries to unimaginable poverty by restricitng access to cheap energy because of your national security fantasies.
        Richard Flude
  • WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

    Research positions will be filled by poached foreign talents. Unless ban offshoring production, jobs for americans will not be available.
    sadly2010
  • RE: Energizing China and U.S.

    "portend the economic and power balance for the rest of this young century."

    Sheesh! Don't journalists learn English anymore? This is the same as if the authors has written either:

    "meaning the economic and power balance for the rest of this young century."

    OR:

    "foreshadow the economic and power balance for the rest of this young century."

    The first is obviously wrong, but the second doesn't read much better. It looks like they REALLY meant:

    "determines the general shape of the economic and power balance for the rest of this young century."

    Still too long, but at least it doesn't have the pseudo-Shakespearean tone that 'portends' portends!
    mejohnsn
  • Then again, Maybe Not

    I am underwhelmed by Harry's style of journalism, but YOU have gone over the top. His reporting is not THAT bad.

    On the other hand, seeing symptoms of mental problem where there are none -- as you have just done -- is itself a sign of mental illness.

    Get help.

    Then again, if you are too addicted to the computer terminal, maybe you should just try the "Emacs Psychotherapist" under "Tools" in Emacs;)
    mejohnsn