In the wake of more bad (good if you are for green) news in China’s auto sales trends, GLF is observing an increasingly resonant cacophony of green washing in the auto sector…
Haifei Automobile Group joins the electric vehicle race and sets its sights on launching the Haifei Saibo electric vehicle in the U.S. markets later this year. Lithium-phosphate battery maker China BAK is getting government support for R&D. GreentechMedia debates if the U.S. will move from Arab oil dependence to Asian car battery dependence. Another angle is if both the U.S. and Asia moves towards South American lithium dependence.
Beiqi Foton Motor (SHSE: 600166) established China’s first manufacturing and R&D base for new energy vehicles in Beijing. The base covers an area of 1,000 mu (around 66.67 hectares), with a total investment of Read the full story
Energy Price Reforms
NDRC announced that it would be removing price caps on coal from next year in a move towards a more market-driven price mechanism. This move comes at an opportune time when coal prices have dropped by 30 to 40% since the summer, but GLF points out an earlier post (see finding #4) on a recent MIT coal report that suggests the upstream coal industry has already moved towards a de facto market price system. Although the NDRC move “is a step in the right direction,” Huang Shengchu, president of Beijing-based China Coal Information Institute says in this interview that government macro-control is still needed to protect the rights of various coal stakeholdres in their contractual dealings with each other, accerlarate industry consolidation of the many small and inefficient mines and to set up a coal price index.
Separately, the proposed auto fuel price reform kicked in earlier than expected. So it turns out that the answer to our confusion (see earlier post) of how the government proposed to hike up taxes and keep fuel prices even was that they would adjust the base fuel price downward, predicated on Read the full story
We’ve gone more than a month without a “Green Hops” update…what a crime! We atone for that oversight here…
Climate Change and International Cooperation
A “high level” summit in Beijing on international technology transfer and climate change held on November 7 and 8 provided a preview of the international climate change negotiations that have kicked off in Poznan, Poland today. A blogger’s review of the Beijing summit can be found at China Green Space (the young author of which is a personal friend and has been getting some recognition lately). Basically, it is more of the same–China wants free capital and free technology from developed countries. This is the same position as what can be found in the recently released China Climate Change White Paper, which Read the full story
Nuclear is Hot. Big 5 power company China Huaneng Group has signed contracts with suppliers to equip its first nuclear power plant in Shandong province. The plant, planned for 200 MW in its first phase with a 2013 start date, will boast “high temperature, gas-cooled technology” (HTR-PM), which is supposed to be safer and simpler in design compared to conventional nuclear plants. It is the smallest of 21 plants in China’s nuclear pipeline. For the tech geeks our there, Tsinghua University, one of the purported suppliers of nuclear equipment for the project, has put out a paper describing HTR-PM. A review of China’s nuclear sector is really overdue here at The Green Leap Forward. Watch for it.
Solar-Powered Water. The Xinjiang government has invested RMB 160 million ($23.5 million USD) in a drip irrigation system powered by solar panels. [Pictured: a picture of a generic drip irrigator stolen from the interweb]. Elsewhere, China Solar & Clean Energy Solutions has been awarded a US$3.5 million solar water heating project in Shenzhen. Separately, the Beijing government announced it will invest RMB 13 billion (US$1.9 billion) over the next three years in Read the full story
BYD Auto/ Warren Buffet Update. Seems like the investment of Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings in Shezhen-based BYD Auto is not just a bet on electric vehicles, but also on the collaboration between MidAmerican and BYD to develop “rapid charge batteries” for electrical grid systems to serve as energy storage for renewable but intermittent power such as wind and solar, revealed MidAmerican’s chairman, David Sokal, at a press conference earlier this week in Hong Kong. (I have argued before in my solar blog how grid-tied energy storage solutions are the key to a clean electricity revolution.) Elsewhere, it appears more definitive that BYD’s entry into the Israeli market will be facilitated by Clal Industries and Investments, a unit of conglomerate IDB Development. Clal will start importing BYD’s electric vehicles into Israel next year. Such developments have apparently caught the eyes of Portland’s city officials, who are trying to woo BYD to start make America’s greenest city its North American hub.
Post-Olympic Traffic Measures Draw Mixed Reactions. As smog re-envelopes Beijing, the capital is reinstating a modified set of traffic measures to curb the growth of auto emissions that will, among other things, ban corporate and private cars from taking to the roads one day per week depending on their license plate number. Xinhua reports mixed reception to the measures, with some contemplating purchasing a second car, and others more astutely observing that “to ban should not be the ultimate way to ease Beijing’s traffic woes… Read the full story
More on the Green Olympics. Just one more day to the opening ceremonies! In our last post, we examined some of the stopgap measures that Beijing embarked on to deliver on its Green Olympics promises. Louis Schwartz, one of my favorite commentators on China’s clean tech scene, provides some juicy details of the kinds of renewable energy systems being deployed in the Olympic venues. He ends his article with a thought which must be on every green observer’s mind:
As is so often the case in China, the Summer Olympics in Beijing present two contradictory views of China’s environmental and energy stewardship. Will China’s future development realize the promise of the enlightened environmental and energy infrastructure now on display at the Olympic venues or will the Olympic Village turn out to have been just a Potemkin Village? Stay tuned.
Environmental exchanges launched. Shanghai and Beijing plan to launch exchanges that will facilitate the trade of emission credits, once regulatory approvals are granted. China Environmental Law Blog provides a good breakdown on what the respective exchanges hope to achieve.
Receiving less media attention are Changsha’s (of Hunan province) efforts to engage in emissions trading. Reuters reports that Changsha has drawn up a plan to assign credits for “dust, carbon dioxide and chemical oxygen demand (COD)” with the view of facilitating the trade of those credits “as early as next year.”
New energy body starts work. The newly approved China National Energy Administration (NEAR) has begun operations. Ominously, one of the NEA’s first pronouncements was to project that nuclear power will constitute 5% of China’s total power generating capacity by 2020, one percentage point more than was originally projected by a 2007 national nuclear energy plan.
Siemens sees green in China. Siemens, the German industrial conglomerate, expects more than 50% of its growth in China to come from the environmental sector. “More than half of our 1 billion euro mid-term investment in China until 2010 will go into energy-saving and environmentally friendly technologies and solutions,” said Richard Hausmann, president and CEO of Siemens China, to China Daily. And why not? GE’s doing it.
Siemens Energy will deliver the first two of five coal gasifiers to Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group Co. Ltd. (SNCG), a subsidiary of Shenhua Group, China’s largest coal supplier. The coal gasifiers, each with a thermal capacity of 500MW, are destined for the Ningxia coal-to-polypropylene (NCPP) plant in Ningxia Province in northwest China. As Green Car Congress explains:
In the gasification process hard coal, lignite and other substances such as biomass, petcoke and refinery residues will be converted to syngas, and environmental pollutants such as sulfur and carbon dioxide subsequently removed. The syngas can then be used for power generation in integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants or as a raw material in the chemical industry, for example in the production of synthetic fuels.
Click here for a power point presentation on Siemen’s coal gasification technhologies.
New EE rule for fixed-asset projects. Such projects by Siemens should have no problems meeting a new regulation proposed by the government to condition the approval of fixed-asset projects by meeting specific energy efficiency criteria. The new regulation is drafted in line with China’s Energy Conservation Law, which took effect on April 1 and has received good coverage by China Environmental Law Blog.
Happy Fourth of July to our American readers. As Thomas Friedman, renown New York Times columnist and cleantech convert, likes to say, “Green is the new Red, White and Blue.” US energy security and indeed economic development through the creation of green collar jobs depend on a thriving cleantech industry. In the international relations arena, cooperation on cleantech and environmental governance also offers an opportunity for the US to repair the goodwill that Bush has squandered over the last seven and a half years.
G8. All eyes are on the US as international climate talks amongst the major developed nations at the G8 Hokkaido Tokayo Summit are held next week. The US ranks dead last amongst the eight nations in terms of climate action according to a report recently released by the World Wildlife Federation and Allianz, the insurer. Hosts Japan is urging numerical emissions reduction targets be adopted and is seeking to be a role-model energy efficient economy. Though not an official member of G8, delegates of major developing countries such as China will be in attendance. China maintains its position that developed countries should lead the way on binding measures to reduce emissions, but says it is open to “discussing longer-term commitments, and Tokyo’s proposals for emissions goals for specific industries.”
Californication. But Americans are not waiting for the US federal government to act. Previously, I highlighted the efforts of JUCCCE. China Dialogue also recently ran an interesting piece highlighting the efforts of several Californian institutions taking the lead in collaborating with China on clean energy issues, including the China Energy Group (part of the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), University of California—Berkeley, the utility Pacific Gas and Electric, US-China Green Energy Council and Energy Foundation. Just last week, California announced its ambitious plan to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2020.
Crossing the Straits. Meanwhile, cross-straits relations reached a milestone with the first commercial flights in 60 years between China and Taiwan resuming today. In his short tenure at the helm so far, the new Taiwanese President, Ma Yin Jiou, has already brandished his environmental credentials. The Green Leap Forward hopes that the this new era of cross-straits relations will also mark a new avenue of clean energy and environmental cooperation. As a start, check out this zany but cool and high-tech idea of increasing efficiencies of mass transit using a “train that never stops,” courtesy of a Taiwanese inventor Peng Yu-lun (note expressions of audience towards end of video):
Plastic Bags. Finally, a look at how China’s plastic bag regulations, one month in, are faring. Comapre the upbeat review by Worldwatch with the more sobering and mixed observations of China Environmental Law. My personal experience in Beijing has been that free plastic bags are still being freely doled out by street vendors and markets, which makes me wonder, what percentage of Chinese consumers shops in supermarkets and department stores anyways? It will be interesting to see how enforcement of the regulations play out. Either way, the era of free/cheap petrochemical-laden plastic bags have to come to an end as oil prices march towards US$300. Planet Earth could certainly do without plastic soup.
Newsy tidbits on green developments in China, sans analysis.
HK Introduces Green Tax Cuts. Hong Kong to provide attractive tax deductions (20% for construction and 100% for new purchases) for installations of environmental technologies. Closer to the mainland, China Environmental Law Blog ponders what the more macro tax reform proposals by the central government mean for environmental governance.
China’s Telecoms Industry Greens. “China Mobile has created a “Green Action Plan” focusing on energy conservation and reducing emissions…Nokia Siemens Networks, one of China Mobile’s four major suppliers, says its recent Flexi GSM base stations are the smallest and most energy-efficient GSM base stations in the market…Other suppliers including Ericsson, Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent have also introduced various leading cards for energy-efficient solutions.”
Huaneng to Boost Renewables… China Huaneng Group, the country’s largest power producer, said it will boost the development of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass across China. Late last year, it was reported that Huaneng would embark on a GreenGen project to build the world’s first near zero-emissions coal power plant (with carbon capture and storage) in Tianjin in collaboration with Peabody Energy of the U.S.
…So Will JIC Tech. Not to be outdone, Hong Kong’s J.I.C. Technology, a manufacturer of LCDs but recently acquired in March by HKC, a Hong Kong-based property developer and alternative energy company, will invest $207 million in three renewable energy projects across China, including two wind farms and a pilot cellulosic ethanol plant.
Methane Plants: China’s Clean Energy Alternative. NPR runs this powerful story on the potential of the harnessing of methane as a by-product of coal mining to decrease the demand for coal.
A Legal Leap Forward. And it is green, and evolving. This China Daily story charts the evolution of Chinese environmental law