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August 12th, 2010
China – Innovating to Clean Energy

It might be that choking on smog resulting from continuously high industrial output and rapid GDP growth has brought about the push to pursue clean energy technologies in China. On the other hand, high GDP growth has been met with higher demand for energy to feed growing consumer and industrial demands. Nevertheless, China surpasses the U.S. three-fold in terms of clean energy investments, approaching nearly 400 billion USD within the last 3 years. Impressive numbers to say the least.

But investment alone is only part of the wider picture. As the Energy Collective, a social media collective says in the article ‘Building a Stronger Foundation for China’s Clean Energy Future: An Update on the Drafting of China’s Energy Law’, China is currently charging forward to integrate, reform and re-vitalize old laws and legislation that saps the strength from efficiently run energy systems across the country which are plagued by administrative details implemented many years ago.

These initiatives are designed to streamline energy management and set the groundwork for a more standardized, effective and understandable energy grid. As the article indicates, “Drafting of the Energy Law started in January 2006, with a version being released for public comment in late 2007. NRDC, partnering with the Regulatory Assistance Project and the China-US Energy Efficiency Alliance, provided extensive comments on the draft, including recommending that the law treat energy efficiency as a resource on par with new generation and that it create a ministry-level energy agency with a specialized department in charge of energy efficiency and conservation.”

China is not likely to move away from coal, oil and other current energy sources in the near future. The energy demands of the country are high. However, a more realistic goal may include greater emphasis on conservation, efficiency and the development of new technologies to minimise harmful impacts of whatever energy it uses. These goals are not dissimilar to those of Europe and other countries.

However, the scope for making these adjustments clearly implies greater use of earth observation, GNSS and map related technologies. And, new building use that incorporates CAD/GIS technology developments related to monitoring and efficiency seems reasonable. This pathway to energy efficiency may also include auto technologies and mobility, given that China is rapidly buying new cars and developing road and transport infrastructure.