Today, we welcome for a guest post (and video…eco-rapping included!) Sustainable John of China’s Green Beat, which is back after a seven month hiatus with this excellent expose on geothermal energy in the Middle Kingdom’s capital.
You may not know it looking around Beijing, but not all of the buildings you see are heated with natural gas and coal. Some are heated (and some cooled as well) using geothermal energy. Two main technologies are currently being employed in Beijing to this end:
- Deep well geothermal
- Ground source heat pumps
Deep well geothermal 深层地热井
Beijing has some unique geothermal resources. Far below the Earth’s surface underneath Beijing’s skyscrapers, apartments, and parks, there is an enormous amount of water at a natural temperature of 60-70 degrees. This is the reason why 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
This is the 50th post for The Green Leap Forward! To celebrate, we visited the 2008 China (Beijing) International Energy Saving and Environmental Protection Exhibition held at the Beijing Exhibition Center this past weekend (Oct 17 through 20).
The first thing that strikes the visitor is the Cathedral-like grandeur of the Beijing Exhibition Center. It was opened in 1954 “with the late Premier Zhou En-Lai cutting the red ribbon and Chairman Mao Tse-Tung contributing poetic thoughts.” It doesn’t look like it is LEED-certified, but being more than half a century old, visitors could take heart in the fact that the building’s carbon debt has probably been paid off a while ago.
The Green Leap Forward TV (GLFTV) film crew (i.e. me and my trusty Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS3) spotted a maniacal looking tall white guy among the attendees. He turned out to be none other than the ever-enthusiastic “Sustainable John” from China’s Green Beat fame. John graciously agreed to sum up the mood in the Solar Hut portion of the exhibition:
This other clip shows what it was like in the outside area of the exhibition. Of special focus in this clip was a concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) installation on display. The company that makes these CPV units is Beijing Globalac (北京富利宝公司), which also makes a whole host of other power control systems for various commercial and industrial applications:
There were tons of other exhibits other than solar applications, such as home-scale wind turbines, energy efficient lighting and other home appliances, green building materials, smart electricity meters, electricity consumption monitoring software and hardware, and of course, technological applications that were deployed in the recent “Green Olympics”. According to the Star Daily, there were some 203 vendors spread across some 12,000 plus square meters. It really did feel like a whole lot more than 203 vendors though (felt more like 500 to 1,000, as mentioned in the above video). Here are just a few that caught the eye of GLF TV: 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