Energy Revolution?

By ADRIAN

An interesting piece at a number of levels, as it:

  • Is written by the President of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association. Sure, in the last decade, China has wiped out many competitors here, but the surprise is the language used – it could have come from a Western green developmentalist. A timely reminder that China is re-positioning itself as a global green player.
  • Points out poorer countries could leap-frog richer ones by going straight to solar. Good, but if I think back to my experience in N.Africa, it is not just a question of offering solar technology “cheaply”: a lot needs to be done on behaviour too. 1. In some places having a PV is seen as a stigmatic mark – you are too poor to be on the “real” grid! – and 2. With big power stations people can “only” steal electricity, not the generator. Sadly, decentralised PVs can go missing in large numbers.
  • Fails to address a point: how to get from today to that sustainable future in richer places. If you are a fossil-based power producer, why invest if your assets will be stranded  shortly? Governments will have to pay to keep “old” technologies in place so as the lights do not go out, and at the same time build up the new infrastructure needed – and that is expensive.