The Province covers our latest Low Carbon Leadership Series event in Vancouver, Greening the Dragon: How B.C. Can Cash In On China’s Clean Energy Ambitions, featuring Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Here’s a copy of the original article by Gordon McIntyre:
As clean energy comes closer and closer to being able to compete economically with fossil fuels, there are lots of chances to profit from renewables, especially in China, a U.S. clean-energy data cruncher said Tuesday.
Ethan Zindler, addressing a Vancouver crowd at a lunch organized by Clean Energy Canada, is no clean-energy booster, he made that clear.
“I’m an industry analyst, not an advocate,” he said.
Based in Washington, D.C., the head of policy analysis for the investment research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance told those gathered that China’s economy is still growing at a torrid pace, creating demand for more electricity and energy of all sorts.
“Clean energy is becoming more cost-competitive with fossil fuels,” Zindler said. “But there is still important progress to be made before wind and solar can automatically be replacements for fossil fuels.”
China installed the most solar panels and the most wind turbines of any country last year, he added.
“But there are virtually no electric vehicles,” he said. “That opportunity has not been exploited yet.”
Overall, China’s growing economy creates demand for more electricity and energy of all kinds.
It’s very different than the United States, Zindler said, where demand for electricity isn’t growing.
The question in China is, how much of the new electrical demand will be supplied by fossil fuels and how much by renewable energy.
Worldwide, China represented 61.3 per cent of all new investment in clean energy in 2013, according to Zindler. The U.S. was next at 48.4 per cent (Canada was seventh at 7.5 per cent).
With many Chinese cities cloaked in smog that goes off the Air Quality Index charts, officials there have mandated that 15 per cent of energy used by 2020 comes from non-fossil fuels.
“It offers a clear-cut opportunity,” Zindler said. “Clean energy is no longer alternative, $1.5 trillion has been invested (worldwide) to date.”