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China is the top renewable energy market

China/US wind energy
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Virginia, USA — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 06 January 2011 – China now stands alone as the most attractive market in the world for renewable energy investment “’ a position it had previously held jointly with the United States, according to Ernst & Young’s most recent Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices report.

Both countries have aggressive goals to integrate renewable energy into their supply mix, and they lead the way in wind power development. Last year China installed 13.8 GW of wind power, the US added 10 GW.

The number of green relationships being established between the US and China is on the increase. A recent criss-crossing of the globe by industry leaders and government officials from both nations demonstrates a heightened understanding of their paired potential, and they have been meeting to investigate joint green energy opportunities. China brings to the table its cheap manufacturing capability and the US its high-tech know-how.

“We can’t view this as one against the other. Over the past 12 months, partnerships and collaborations and deals from the manufacturing side all the way up to the development and installation side have really taken off. It makes a lot of sense. We are working together on the government side and private sector side to grow the pie and make it beneficial and profitable for businesses in the US and China,” said Foley & Lardner partner Jeffery Atkin.

At one such meeting, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers said: “I believe that China and the US are uniquely positioned to answer the environmental energy challenges for the globe. We are smart enough and have a clear enough vision to be able to cooperate and compete at the same time,” he added.

Also at the forum was US secretary of commerce Gary Locke, who commented: “If not addressed, this current energy mix will significantly impact our businesses, our environment, and our way of life in both countries.”

In addition to many similarities in energy supply, both countries are poised for enormous electricity transmission grid build-outs, which will be required to meet increasing energy demand through to 2050.

Rogers sees a daunting challenge ahead for the US. The nation will need to spend an estimated US$2.1 trillion to meet its electricity demand by 2030, with consumption set to grow at an estimated rate of 0.5%/year through to 2035.

“Over the next 40 years almost all US power plants, with the exception of its hydroelectric sites, will have to be retired and replaced,” said Rogers. “This comes on top of the transmission and distribution overhaul needed for smart grid applications.”

Conversely, China will focus more on building new facilities. It has 700 million rural inhabitants, 15 million of whom, it is anticipated, will flock to its cities every year. “By 2025, China is expected to build 40 billion m² of floor space across 5 million buildings – the equivalent of two cities of Chicago every year,” said Rogers. “By 2030 an estimated US$3.1 trillion will need to have been spent to keep up with China’s burgeoning demand.”

With such levels of growth predicted in China and the US, entirely new power infrastructures are expected to be built in both countries in the next 40 years.