bad to the boon
by Randy Rieland
10 Sep 2010 12:11 PM
The United Steelworkers are mad as hell that the Chinese government helps clean energy companies cut costs.Photo courtesy jlau via FlickrIt’s no secret China’s been kicking our butt lately in the clean energy business. But the truth is China hasn’t exactly been playing fair, and now one of the biggest unions in the U.S. is screaming about it.
Advantage, China: For starters, a trade war over renewable energy products like solar panels and wind turbines may not be such a bad thing; at least they’re now considered worth having a war over. That said, the United Steelworkers made it clear yesterday that they’re mad as hell and America shouldn’t take it anymore. The problem, they say, is that the Chinese government helps clean energy companies cut their costs and that allows them to sell their products overseas at a lower price than anyone else. You know the rest of the story … U.S. companies can’t compete, they shut down, Americans lose jobs. The union says the Chinese are breaking all kinds of international rules on exports and they’ve petitioned President Obama to pressure Chinese leaders to clean up their act.
Clean breaks: Earlier this week, Keith Bradsher detailed China’s sketchy policies in The New York Times, laying out that government’s track record in helping clean energy companies get cheap land or low interest loans or other subsidies. Multinational companies have shied away from formally challenging the practice because they’re afraid they’ll be shut out of the alluring Chinese market. Writes Bradsher:
The booming Chinese clean energy sector, now more than a million jobs strong, is quickly coming to dominate the production of technologies essential to slowing global warming and other forms of air pollution. … much of China’s clean energy success lies in aggressive government policies that help this crucial export industry in ways most other governments do not.
So bad is good? Bradford Plumer, of the New Republic, makes the case that the U.S. hasn’t really done much to help its own cause in the renewable energy competition. No climate or energy legislation, no national Renewable Electricity Standard, and an Energy Department painfully slow in distributing monies already committed to clean energy.
The great irony of all this is that the world stands to benefit greatly from China’s renewable energy push, regardless of whether it is achieved by fair means or foul. Economies of scale applied to the production of solar panels and wind turbines in China are already pushing prices for renewable energy power down worldwide, making it more and more feasible to replace fossil-fuel power sources with clean tech. Even more encouragingly, the creation of a vast infrastructure for renewable energy research and development is bound to lead to countless downstream technological innovations that lower prices and expand capabilities even further.
And Michael Levi, writing for the Council of Foreign Relations, agrees, adding that China’s edge in clean energy jobs comes in the least profitable areas of the business:
U.S. firms are unable to hold on to cell and module manufacturing (“the final manufacturing steps”) but still have an edge in wafers and silicon, where there is far more profit to be made. Indeed by lowering the cost of turning wafers into finished solar products, (Chinese) companies likely help grow the market for the things that American companies make.
Cars in their eyes: China’s dream of dominating the world’s clean energy business includes making a big splash with electric cars. As Damien Ma writes in The Atlantic:
EVs (electric vehicles) are all the rage these days in China, at least among industry and policy wonks in Beijing. The logic is simple: Having missed the industrial revolution, and then assumed the role of a benchwarmer during the information revolution, China must now seize on the energy revolution. Beijing wants game-changers, and it has pinned hopes on EVs as one of them.
Evil scientists: Meanwhile, here in the U.S., speakers at an Ohio “Rally for Jobs” mocked global warming as a “hoax” and ranted that “so-called green jobs” were “phony.” Scott Keyes, of Think Progress, has more on the event organized by the American Petroleum Institute and funded by right-wing billionaires and infamous climate change deniers Charles and David Koch. These kinds of spectacles have moved the journal Nature to wonder where the right wing’s anti-science crusade is leading us. Its recent editorial begins with a signature Rush Limbaugh quote:
The four corners of deceit: government, academia, science and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit. That’s how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper.
Bermed again: Speaking of Republicans dissing science, remember when Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ignored the warnings of coastal scientists that the sand berms he wanted to have built along his state’s coast and marshland would do more harm than good? Only four miles of berms have been built, but the EPA is asking the Army Corps of Engineers not to build any more. The feds say the barriers have done little to stop oil from washing ashore, but do pose a threat to wildlife. Jindal’s plan is to spend $360 million from BP to create about 100 miles of berms.
The spice is right: One of the myths in the war against methane is that cow farts are the great enemy. Not so. It’s cow burps we must fear. Cows account for about 37 percent of the world’s methane emissions and most of that comes from belching. But help may be on the way. Jeanna Bryner, at LiveScience reports that after testing all kinds of plants and oils, Penn State researchers found that an oregano supplement reduced the gas their cows were putting out by 40 percent.
It did not, however, appear to make them any smarter.
- Is China trying to steal this city? 4
- Industrialized countries are now losing the clean energy race 7
- One-third of Indonesia’s electricity could come from geothermal energy
10 Sep 2010 8:27pm
” It’s no secret China’s been kicking our butt lately in the clean energy business. But the truth is China hasn’t exactly been playing fair, and now one of the biggest unions in the U.S. is screaming about it. The union says the Chinese are breaking all kinds of international rules on exports and they’ve petitioned President Obama to pressure Chinese leaders to clean up their act. ”
Bunch of US hypocrites.
The USA is doing the same with it’s own bio diesel surpluses that are receiving huge Uncle Sam subsidies, making them so cheap that E.U. bio diesel producers using locally grown oil feeds even can’t compete against a 6000 miles away competitor producer using the same industrial process and feedstock to make it’s bio diesel.
Talk about dumping practices. The E.U. issued huge US import tariffs to make the subsidies advantage moot. The result ? The US producers are using triangular sales tactics to try to get their production into the E.U., using Canada, Singapore and Australia as midway bases, blending their production with that of Canada, Singapore and Australia production, rendering their traceability moot.
The end result ? The E.U. banned all biodiesel imports from Asia and Canada . . . unless certified by a E.U. agreed control organism like Lloyds or SPS, who follow the shipments from factory to receiver in the E.U. to certify their origin.
10 Sep 2010 8:42pm
” Economies of scale applied to the production of solar panels and wind turbines in China are already pushing prices for renewable energy power down worldwide, making it more and more feasible to replace fossil-fuel power sources with clean tech. ”
No, it is the economies of real installations built in Europe that are driving prices down, through the use of the FiT systems, as Germany is doing for the last decade, and most of the rest of Europe for the last 5 years. China is now playing catch up to Europe, while the USA is sleeping at the switch.
http://www.electroiq.com/index/display/pv-wire-news-display/1256946870.html September 6, 2010 – German Solar Demand on Record Pace in 2010; Feed-in Tariffs Updated. Germany’s photovoltaic system installations in the first half of 2010, estimated at 3000 MW, continue to consolidate it’s position as the world’s largest photovoltaic (PV) market. By 2013 energy from PV sources is expected to be competitive with conventional energy sources in the electricity market for private consumers. The EEG law, established ten years ago, requires power companies to buy renewable energy from system owners at the corresponding feed-in tariff rate for 20 years, guaranteeing an attractive payback time and decent returns. Feed-in tariff rates were reduced by 13 percent for rooftop installations and eliminated for cropland field installations from July 1. At the same time, conversion areas saw a reduction of 8 percent and all other areas were decreased by 12 percent. Beginning October 1, these rates will be reduced by a further 3 percent. Still, the new tariffs remain highly attractive, with rates ranging from 25.02 – 34.05 EURc/kWh for installations connected before October 1 and 24.26 – 33.03 EURc/kWh for those connected during the remainder of the year.
http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/10203/ewea-predicts-10-gw-of-wind-to-be-installed-in-europe-during-2010-/ EWEA predicts 10 GW of wind to be installed in Europe during 2010. Total installed wind power capacity by the end of 2009 was 74 767 MW in Europe, or 47% of globally installed capacity.
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/02/global-wind-installations-boom-up-31-in-2009?cmpid=WNL-Friday-February5-2010 The Global Wind Energy Council this week announced that the world’s wind power capacity grew by 31% in 2009, adding 37.5 gigawatts (GW) to bring total installations up to 157.9 GW. The main markets driving this significant growth continue to be Asia, North America and Europe, each of which installed more than 10 GW of new wind capacity in 2009. …read more
Oh no! You’re late to the party — we’re no longer accepting comments on this story.
- investing in clean energy & alternative energy
- investing in clean energy alternative energy
- element power hudson clean energy pdf
- non-state wind energy companies in china
- 2015 planned china wind energy list
- China Removes Import Duties on Wind and Hydro Equipment
Every day that climate change and clean energy legislation is stalled in the Senate, the US loses out on opportunities to benefit from the clean energy economy. A new Chinese trade policy has just been announced that will give a boost to international companies that sell wind power components to China’s rapidly
- GE, other wind turbine makers fall behind in China
Western wind turbine manufacturers are losing ground in China, the world’s fastest-growing green energy market. The combined market share for companies such as General Electric and its European rivals, Vestas Wind Systems and Siemens, fell to 14 percent last year from 71 percent in 2005, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Sales are being eroded
- China Is Leading the Race to Make Renewable Energy
China has also leapfrogged the West in the last two years to emerge as the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels. And the country is pushing equally hard to build nuclear reactors and the most efficient types of coal power plants. These efforts to dominate renewable energy technologies raise the prospect that the West may
- China, the New Power House in Green Energy
China, the New Power House in Green Energy In 2009, China surpassed the United States, for the first time, to become the biggest investor in green energy, including in wind, solar and biomass. According to the L.A. Times newspaper, China’s investment in clean energy jumped from $2.5 billion to a whopping $34.6 billion
- In US – Should you Buy it
Ming Yang Wind Power Group is the first Chinese Wind Energy Company to list its shares in the American Stock Exchange.There are a number of Chinese Solar Companies like Renesola,Trina Solar,Suntech etc which are traded in the USA but no Wind Energy Plays.In fact the number of Wind Companies trading on US Exchanges is almost