China to Make Clean-Tech a “Pillar Industry”

The Chinese government will be accelerating its investment in green technology, elevating the sector to a “pillar industry” that will receive strong government support, as the public outcry over the country’s pollution and its threat to public health continues to rise. So reports Reuters.

The country’s cabinet, the State Council, said last weekend that companies in the so-called environmental protection sector would receive tax breaks and subsidies, in an attempt to accelerate growth in that market. The government plans to speed up its investment into environmentally-friendly vehicles as well as develop technology and equipment to reduce pollution in the air, water and soil.

The Chinese government is already investing $375 billion (2.3 trillion yuan) in green-tech companies through 2015. The State Council said the new plan should help the sector grow 15% annually, generating turnover of $735 billion (4.5 trillion yuan) over the next two or three years.

There was widespread outcry over the extent of the smog in China’s northern cities back in January. Two months later, thousands of rotting pig carcasses were found in a river from which Shanghai gets its drinking water. Most consider these issues to be fallout from a mass migration into urban centers and the country’s aggressive industrial expansion, Reuters reports.

But the government’s prior efforts to bolster certain industries in the past have resulted in global trade tiffs, as countries accused China of giving its own companies an unfair advantage. The State Council said foreign companies based in China would receive the same tax and subsidy benefits as Chinese firms.

Clean-tech companies are already getting started. A major wind farm developer, Longyuan Power, said this week that it had put up five wind turbines on its wind farm in Tibet, nearly 5,000 meters above sea level, making it the highest in the world. So reports China Daily.

Longyuan Power says it will be putting another 33 wind turbines on the farm and expects to be connected to the grid by the close of 2013. The farm is in Nagqu prefecture, part of China’s Tibet autonomous region.

While Tibet is windy, making it particularly conducive for these kind of farms, its high altitude means the turbines must be able to tolerate high wind speeds low air density and cold temperatures. Wind farm developers believe the turbine technology will improve so they can continue to build farms in areas of high-altitude and low-wind speed, China Daily reports.

The Economist recently produced a compelling online video on the effects that pollution is having on China’s major cities and how its government is tackling the problem.

To read the full Reuters article cited in this story, click here

To read the full China Daily article cited in this story, click here

Tags: Policy

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