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China and the United States - A Comparison of Green Energy Programs and Policies

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Congressional research rept.

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China is the worlds most populous country with over 1.3 billion people. It has experienced tremendous economic growth over the last three decades with an annual average increase in gross domestic product of 9.8 during that period. This has led to an increasing demand for energy, spurring China to add an average of 53 gigawatts GW of electric capacity each year over the last ten years to its power generation capabilities. China essentially functions as a command and control economy. The national government owns or controls many of the countrys industries and enterprises, and sets goals for economic development in the periodic Five Year Plans. Chinas industries and enterprises are expected to comply with the goals set in the national governments economic plan. China has set ambitious targets for developing its non-hydropower renewable energy resources with a major push of laws, policies, and incentives in the last few years. The wind power sector is illustrative of Chinas accomplishments, as installed wind power capacity has gone from 0.567 GW in 2003 to 12.2 GW in 2008. Plans already exist to grow Chinas wind power capacity to 100 GW by 2020. A similar goal exists for the solar photovoltaic power sector which China intends to increase generating capacity from 0.14 GW as of 2009 to over 1.8 GW by 2020. China recognizes that given the growing demand for energy at home, developing its domestic renewable energy industry and building manufacturing capacity can lead to advantages in future export markets. However, energy efficiency and conservation are officially Chinas top energy priority. These are considered the low-hanging fruit in the quest to reduce energy use and cut demand. Energy conservation investment projects have priority over energy development projects under the Energy Conservation Law of 1997, with government-financed projects being selected on technological, economic and environmental comparisons and validations of the projects.

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  • Non-electrical Energy Conversion

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