Renewables, fuel cells, hydrogen, and efficiency
Thursday, March 17, 2005
China's Oil Thirst Could Push It Toward Fuel Efficiency; Eye On Solar And Wind
: "Bryant Tong, managing director of privately held Nth Power, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm that invests in energy and tech firms, says China's hunger for oil and other fuels is making its officials aware they need better ways to use and monitor energy. Tong doubles as chairman and president of the nonprofit China/U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance, a board that advises Chinese officials on how to use energy more efficiently. ..
IBD: What types of technology is China considering to make its energy consumption more efficient?
Tong: The simple answer is products such as energy-efficient commercial lighting, commercial and residential air conditioning, industrial motors and other systems.
IBD: Can China's energy problems be solved just by using such products?
Tong: No. You need to set up an infrastructure that's backed by the right policies and programs. That's where the China/U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance comes in. We work with other groups, like the National Resources Defense Council, a U.S. think tank, to help Chinese officials pinpoint the best practices and energy-efficient products that have worked in the U.S. ..
IBD: What types of digital and online technology is China eyeing to make energy use more efficient?
Tong: A lot of (it) will be energy monitoring technology. The Internet is a huge enabler to track energy use by factories and citizens. There are new types of sensors to help the Chinese monitor and control energy use.
IBD: What about using solar and wind energy?
Tong: China is looking at different projects in solar and wind. There was a report that GE is selling wind turbines to China. Right now, China's main focus is on more efficient hydro-energy projects. It's mainly dam-type stuff. ..
IBD: What concrete steps has China already taken to curb energy use?
Tong: They've implemented fuel efficiency standards that are tougher on SUVs than in the U.S. China is also on the verge of enacting a fuel oil tax to curb consumption.
IBD: Doesn't China have access to oil reserves in Central Asia and the South China Sea region that can supply more oil and lessen its need to conserve fuel?
Tong: China is a huge net importer of oil. Regardless of what reserves they have, they are importing tremendous amounts of oil, and their projections of what they'll be needing are enormous as well. .. The Chinese people know they are at the beginning of a new era. Growth prospects are enormous, with China leapfrogging Japan last year as the second-largest oil-importing country. They know they have to be fuel efficient." 10:01:07 PM
China's Boom Brings Fear of an Electricity Breakdown
: "According to Zhang Jun, a prominent Chinese economist who has made a comparative study of China and India, China consumes 3 times the energy and 15 times the amount of steel as its neighbor, even though the Chinese economy is only roughly twice as large, and is growing only about 10 percent faster than India's. Part of this picture comes from an intensive focus on manufacturing and exports, which many economists say has led to overindustrialization and empty growth. A lot of the responsibility for wastefulness can be laid to duplication, with each province - and indeed many city governments - simultaneously pushing for the same kind of growth..
"China will definitely be facing a huge, huge challenge in a decade or so if the growth patterns don't change," said Dr. Zhang, who is the director of the China Center for Economic Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. "Ours is an extreme case of the East Asian model, and we are coming quickly toward the limitations in terms of the way we use energy, in terms of the environment, and even in terms of labor." ..
The toll on China's environment from this growth-at-any-cost strategy has been truly alarming. China's official development goal is to build what the government calls a well-off society by the year 2020, yet today the very growth that makes such dreams permissible has left China with 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities, according to the World Bank. Using standards that are relatively lax when compared with those of the United Nations, the Chinese government itself reckons that fewer than half of the country's cities have acceptably breathable air. The government also says that 90 percent of urban residents face serious water pollution problems. By another estimate, 700 million Chinese must make do with contaminated drinking water. Even the country's seas are increasingly under siege from industrial pollution and are regularly choked by red tide infestations.
If the country's galloping energy needs have caught people's attention throughout China, mobilizing resources to protect the environment has been far more difficult." 9:56:24 PM
China enacts first auto fuel-efficiency standards: Oct 2004: "China has introduced its first fuel-efficiency standards for passenger cars, moving to control soaring oil consumption and ensure foreign automakers share their latest technology, the government said Friday. .. Initially some foreign carmakers opposed the plans, fearing the added costs of compliance. Foreign manufacturers have also urged China to force suppliers to clean up the substandard diesel and gasoline fuel now sold throughout the country, complaining that bad fuel ruins high-tech engines. ..
Though not particularly stringent, the new requirements are stricter than U.S. standards, which haven't been updated for more than 20 years, [Energy Foundation official] Yang noted. American fuel efficiency standards are calculated using the average fuel use of the entire fleet sold by an automaker. In China, similar to Japan, the standards require that each model sold meet the criteria, Yang said. The first phase of the standards will be implemented from July 2005, with a stricter second phase from 2008 for new models introduced to China, the research center said. " 9:52:32 PM
China - US Energy Efficiency Alliance: "As a coalition between governments, businesses and NGOs, the China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance will be helping China to fuel its economic growth by tapping the highly cost-effective option of energy efficiency. In partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Alliance has been invited by governments in China, such as Shanghai and Jiangsu, to provide regulatory consultation and training assistance. The assistance will help these governments transfer and adopt effective programs to quickly realize the benefits of energy efficiency. " Interesting public-private effort. Supported by Environmental Entrepreneurs (e2.org) and NRDC.
A related effort, also based in San Francisco: EF China: "In March 1999, after a series of meetings and consultations with scientists, policy-makers, business leaders, and analysts in China and the United States, the staff and boards of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and The Energy Foundation launched the China Sustainable Energy Program. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation joined as a funding partner in 2002. The program's mission is: To assist in China's transition to a sustainable energy future by promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy. " 9:47:04 PM