China’s foreign investment in renewables passed $32 billion last year, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, but the U.S. is setting an impressive pace in a number of areas as well.
Collaboration for a Cleaner Planet
And with great “power” comes great responsibility. Smart grid technology, for instance, communicates with utilities virtually to adjust energy usage as needed, allowing a grid to engage many different sources of power. Because it lacks universal standards, the U.S. has collaborated with China power provider State Grid Corp in a set of solutions that help highly populated countries more effectively integrate renewables like solar and wind into their existing grid systems.
These relationships are important to the health of the planet. There’s a mutual benefit in creating competition around science and technology, and the U.S. is a strong clean energy partner across the pacific. Here are some other highlights of these two economies:
A High Bar of Low Coal Consumption
The U.S. uses coal for just 30 percent of its electricity, helping limit its carbon footprint to a size China is also pursuing. China plans to further reduce its coal consumption by shutting down outdated coal mines and investing nearly a percentage point more in natural gas, which has a much small carbon footprint than coal. The U.S. is keen on this as well.
Using Wind Wisely
China’s wind energy capacity is ahead of the U.S., but the States still produce at least as many megawatt-hours (MWh) as China does per year — enough to power more than 17 million American homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Why? Investments in wind are tremendous, but these projects need to align with the available space on the country’s grid, which means it needs to make sure each installation is value-added to its citizens. With that in mind, 12 states were able to produce at least 10 percent of their total electricity from wind in 2015.
They’re Both Crushing It in Renewable Jobs
Along with Brazil, the U.S. and China own more than 5 million of the 8 million renewable energy jobs available worldwide — in equal portions given their populations. Energy from biomass is one of their most impressive markets. Both countries have roughly half a million jobs in biofuel each, of the 3 million that exist globally.
China has ambitious investments in clean energy, estimated at more than $300 billion over the next three years, with the U.S. continuing to be its fellow renewable powerhouse to the west. Learn more about China’s environmental industry here, and below.