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The GENI-us Letter

China's Growth — Why Renewable Energy Is Essential

Dear GENI Friend,

GENI just returned from participating in the 2006 Great Wall Renewable Energy Forum, hosted by the Chinese Renewable Energy Society. This was my third trip to Beijing in a dozen years, and the Chinese energy story is many challenging facets.

First, GDP growth is averaging 8%, which means the economy doubles in 9 years. The demand for energy is voracious as they expect to build 80,000 MW of new capacity this year! Shockingly, China is building a 1,000 MW coal-fired plant every week. Traffic jams now grip Beijing streets and air pollution hangs heavy over the capital.

Renewable energies, beyond large hydropower, have now become a priority for China's energy planners. From less than 1% renewable energy penetration, China is now targeting 10% from renewables by 2010, and 16% by 2020. The renewable resource potential is huge: 3 million MW of wind; 400,000 MW of hydro, and for solar, over 1 trillion tons of coal equivalent a year.

The lines of electricity are now reaching nearly every rural village, and over 99% of China now has electric lights and other basic energy services. Providing electricity to everyone is considered the "social responsibility" of the State Grid Corporation. And in the spirit of GENI, China has interconnected their high-voltage grid with Vietnam for the economic exchange of electrical energy. Other Southeast Asian nations will follow suit — the ASEAN grid.

The choices that China makes will affect us all. If the U.S., China and India compete for depleting fossil fuels in the future, we will all suffer the political and environmental repercussions. If these same nations compete in the race for renewable energies, we can expect a cleaner and more peaceful planet for us and our grandchildren.

In partnership for the planet,

Peter Meisen


p.s. Please consider renewing your GENI pledge. It will make a real difference in our work.

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The Global Energy Network Institute focuses on the interconnection of electric power networks between nations and continents, with an emphasis on tapping abundant renewable energy resources. This strategy is the highest priority of the World Game simulation developed by Dr. Buckminster Fuller three decades ago.

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