Hydropower in China
China is currently one of the largest energy users in the world. Most of their energy is generated by burning coal, which emits a large amount of CO2 and damages our climate and the environment. Climate change is a long-term effect of this consumption of fossil fuels, but the environment is suffering enormously now. Air pollution (smog) is starting to be a huge problem in China. There is a lot of potential for the growth of sustainable energy, because the demand for energy will only grow in coming years and there is a lot of willingness to meet this demand in a sustainable way. The transition to a renewable energy system is seen as a prerequisite for China’s sustained development.1
Hydropower is the most widely used form of renewable energy. Currently, 16% of the energy in the world is generated from water, and it is expected that this will grow by 3.1% a year over the next 25 years. The capacity of Chinese hydropower plants is expected to grow to 430 GW by 2020. China will also invest in hydropower plants in the near future.2 Stimulating exponential growth of hydro-energy will play an important role in the global fight against climate change.
The Dachunhe hydropower project
China’s economy is growing rapidly. Energy use is therefore also increasing significantly. Five new coal-fired power plants are built every month. Despite its enormous coal reserves, China also has to import a lot of oil. The use of coal for power plants causes a lot of pollution. According to the World Bank, China has twenty of the world’s thirty most polluted cities. A positive development is that a transition to renewable energy has begun. This is mostly focused on the urban intensive industrial areas and ignores the more rural and remote areas where the poorer Chinese live. China’s economic development is also not reaching them. Dachunhe is an existing small hydropower plant in Yunnan province in southern China. It generates clean energy for the region and supplies it to the existing electricity grid, which reduces the fossil fuels needed for electricity generation. This project, with a total installed capacity of 6 MW, has ensured that more water can be held in a larger reservoir and that power can be continuously generated. The project reduces about 22,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. It also attracts entrepreneurs to invest in the region, which results in more local employment opportunities. By setting up projects such as this in remote and less developed areas, the migration of local residents to the already overcrowded cities is prevented because they have opportunities to develop themselves while remaining in a familiar environment.
The Climate Neutral Group is working with the Dachunhe Project by investing in the start-up of the project. In this way it is possible to implement the business plan and achieve the planned goals. Climate Neutral Group invests in small-scale hydropower projects because of their efficient reduction of CO2 emissions and their efficient delivery of clean energy to families in remote areas. This project is certified under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).
1 Dutch Embassy
Factsheet Hydropower in China >>
Climate and the environment
- Lowers CO2 emissions
- Greens the energy mix in China
- Improves air quality by reducing NO2 and SO2 levels (and thereby reduces fine particulates/smog)
- The local population has access to a stable source of sustainable energy
- Stability in energy supply (fewer ‘fall-outs’) = less stress and more efficiency at work and at school
- Creates jobs
- Improves economic development and infrastructure
- Builds knowledge and expertise within the hydro-energy sector
- Builds knowledge and expertise in the field of ISO 26000 certification