China: aquecimento termosolar vai produzir o equivalente as 40 usinas nucleares em 2010

21 de janeiro de 2010

January 20th, 2010

China’s Solar Hot Water Capacity Will Soon be Equivalent to 40 Nuclear Plants

How far behind are Canada and the United States? How about these for eye-opening statistics:

* A solar water heater in China costs less than $200. Without one, a family wanting hot water would have to buy an electric water heater for about the same price and pay up to $120 per year for electricity. The payback is almost instantaneous.

* By relying on the sun, the citizens of Rizhao have cut carbon dioxide emissions by almost 53 thousand tons per year. Air quality has remained much better than in most urban areas of China, luring foreign investors and increasing tourism.

* Experts project that by 2010 the number of solar water heaters installed in China will equal the thermal equivalent of the electrical capacity of 40 large nuclear power plants. Globally, solar water heaters have the capacity to produce as much energy as more than 140 nukes.

These stunning solar statistics and many more fascinating facts can be found here.

The real question is, why aren’t we also leaders in this area? Where is our Made-at-Home solution? Perhaps the answer is contained in a study from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), which points out that “many barriers and fossil-fuel subsidies” are hampering the switch to a green economy. Here in my province, so-called ‘green’ British Columbia, for example, a recent budget containing a revenue-neutral carbon tax also gave over three hundred million dollars to the oil and gas industries annually.

Suppose that same money had gone to solar water heaters? (Which can also be used to provide radiant heating for homes.) Even at $1,000 per heater, that’s 300,000 solar hot water heaters per year that the government could be giving to people. If the government just subsidised them to an extent, far more would be available at a price that would make oil, gas, or electric heating look just foolish and wasteful. And that’s just BC, population about four million. Every household could have a free solar hot water heater in no time!

Are we going to shift to a new green economy? Are our governments serious about about reducing costs and increasing energy independence for all of us? Judge them by their actions, but I think it’s clear: If they were, they’d be promoting Made-Here solar hot water heaters.

Note: I originally wrote this when I was a Green Party politician in Canada, and I am no longer affiliated with any political party. I went Green because of my disgust and complete lack of faith in the mainstream parties to do the right thing. I still think that only the Greens ‘get’ the seriousness of climate change, but whether they would be able to do much even if they formed government is doubtful. They also suffer from internal politics as much as any other political party.

My goal now is to create a social tipping point so that a very large number of people ‘get’ the danger we face from peak oil, climate change, economic corruption, and other ills that will bring our society down unless we stop them. All parties should be ‘green’; so should the economy.



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