Issues of pollution in China create desire for clean-energy use

By Sarah Dinell


Hanergy has placed much of its interest in increasing the Chinese use of clean energy. Photo by Kirsten Adams

As a result of rapid urbanization in recent years, China has experienced massive amounts of pollution. In order to combat this, a movement toward cleaner forms of energy began with companies such as Hanergy at the forefront. Formed in 1994, Hanergy is the largest non-state-owned enterprise of clean energy power generation in China, focusing mainly on hydropower and more recently, solar power. With massive amounts of resources and Hanergy manufacturing in over 10 provinces in China, China is shaping up to become a huge entity for alternative energy methods.

“It’s a big, big market,” Hanergy Vice President Erica Wang said. “China is the next big market for solar energy.”

Hanergy has set up multiple labs to further research and experiment with solar power, and how best to utilize that energy source. Its hydropower stations have been put into effect over the Oujiang River in Zhejiang, the Dongjiang River in Guangdong and the Jinsha River in Yunnan, and wind power energy is being utilized in Jiangsu and Ningxia.

While it is focused on expanding solar power and hydropower in China, Hanergy is also reaching abroad throughout Europe and North America, in the hopes of expanding alternative energy and the company. As the last lines of the profile on the Hanergy website say, “We are in pursuit of a supreme and clearly-defined mission: ‘Make the air cleaner’. And we engage ourselves in becoming the most powerful clean energy business in the world by 2020.”

The Shanghai Tower, what will become the world's tallest building, includes energy-saving attributes in its construction plan. Photo by Melanie Yamaguchi.

Hanergy is not only concentrated on new energy forms; to address China’s pollution problem, Hanergy created the Cleanergy Investment Service to concentrate on reducing greenhouse gas emission. Cleanergy works as a consultant and investor in emission-reduction projects, both nationally and internationally, to help combat overpollution.

Hanergy is not the only company in China to move toward energy-saving mechanisms. Xia Rui Kang, an advisor in the Marketing Department of the China State Construction Engineering Corporation, has noticed a trend with more and more clients wanting environmentally friendly buildings.

“There is a tendency in China, building to save energy,” Kang said. “The clients and government make an emphasis on saving energy and the green aspect.”

This movement toward saving energy is a development that has happened fairly recently.

“There has been a change especially in the last ten years,” Kang said. “Before, I don’t think the clients put any emphasis on saving energy.”

The Shanghai Tower, which upon its completion in 2014 will be the tallest building in China, is one of the buildings being built with the purpose of reducing energy usage.  Wind turbines near the top of the tower will generate electricity and run the exterior lights. Rainwater recovery and gray-water recycling systems will cut water use by a minimum of 40 percent. Geothermal systems and thermal-mass storage will partly provide for cooling and heating.

China has founded several other alternative-energy methods, such as the Green Building Council, which is in charge of labeling green buildings and drumming up public awareness, and conventions like “Green Building China 2012” was held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center from March 27-29. The focus on alternative and environmentally friendly energy sources has propelled China into its role as one of the world leaders in the field.

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