By Eric Biegon in Inner Mongolia, China
China is increasingly reducing its dependency on coal power energy, instead, growing its renewable energy sources.
Construction of wind turbines and solar panels is becoming a norm in almost all regions of the Far East country.
Over-dependence on coal has been cited as one of the major reasons behind pollution and climate change being witnessed in China. Coal-burning power plants are therefore being reduced at a great speed.
Statistics at the national development and reform commission and the country’s national energy administration indicate that as of the end of 2016, renewable energy sources have been on the rise accounting for 30 percent of many of Chinese provinces’ energy demands whereas coal accounts for at least 70 percent power pumped into various regional grids.
Inner Mongolia for example, has the largest wind power capacity in the whole of China. The installed capacity of wind power at the autonomous region is over 10,000 megawatts.
This project was launched in 2006 after the introduction of new energy law.
An official at Inner Mongolia’s Huitengxile Grassland wind power plant said that the law required power grid operators to purchase resources from registered renewable energy producers.
Inner Mongolia administration discloses that there was no going back on this commitment and so efforts were quickly made to begin the road to clean energy.
“Thirty percent of renewable energy in Inner Mongolia might look insignificant, but considering that this has been achieved in the last 10 years only, it means we are moving in the right direction. Gradually we will have the wind and solar power as our main sources of electricity,” the official noted.
The Jingneng New Energy Company Ltd wind farm in Huitengxile – China’s second largest – went operational in August 2006. Its wind turbines cover over 50 square km. In Inner Mongolia, the company’s power plants have an installed capacity of 260 megawatts – 200 megawatts from the wind and 60 megawatts from solar.
“Our company has invested 12 Billion Yuan in recent years in 9 wind power plants across the region,” he added
Inner Mongolia’s total energy generation is over 100 million kilowatts. It is 70 per cent dependent on coal, while 30 per cent of its energy is from solar and wind.
China’s new Renewable Energy Law also offers financial incentives, such as a national fund to foster renewable energy development, and discounted lending and tax preferences for renewable energy projects.
Rapid economic development throughout China has resulted in a significant increase in energy consumption, and Inner Mongolia officials concur that it has led to rising harmful emissions and power shortages. In their opinion, the Renewable Energy Law is designed to help protect the environment, prevent energy shortages, and reduce dependence on imported energy, which is the case for most developing countries in Africa.
The officials further encourage African governments to embrace renewable energy sources given that a project of 50,000 kilowatts of power can be developed for as low as 350 million Yuan (Kshs. 5 Billion)