Of all the nations on the planet, China is not the first place that comes to mind when the subject of green energy is on the table. Yet, China is trying. In 2014, wind farms created 23 percent more power than the previous year. Although China still relies heavily on coal for energy, the increase in clean energy gives some hope that the world’s most populated nation might someday be able to cap their contribution to global warming.
Despite the significant increase, wind power now provides just 2.8 percent of China’s total generated energy. The National Energy Administration said Thursday that wind farms in China produced 153.4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2014, as compared to the 2013 level of 16.09 million kilowatts.
Although the increase in wind power marks a move toward cleaner energy, it’s like one tiny baby step in a journey of a thousand miles. China still produces about 80 percent of its total energy and about 60 percent of electricity by burning coal. In fact, China burns about half the coal on Earth and twice what the United States uses. As a result, China’s air quality is so abysmal that 90 percent of its cities failed to meet the 2014 standards set by the government.
The ongoing increases in wind power capacity are just a part of China’s efforts toward capping the country’s carbon emissions by 2030. Skeptics wonder whether China can meet the goal, even though China has said they plan to ban coal ten years prior to the deadline.