China has made great strides in the last two decades in bringing prosperity to a greater share of its people. Older state-run industries are being replaced by a dynamic new economy. Unfortunately, this economy requires a huge engine to run it, and prosperity has brought with it a huge cost in the form of air pollution - including high levels of particulates, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, plus increasing emissions of carbon dioxide.
In the last couple of years, the burning of coal produced over two-thirds of the primary energy consumed in China. Even with improvements in end-use energy efficiency, energy demand continues to grow and so does the air pollution.
In China, pollution is causing serious health problems, crop damage and acid rain, all of which are taking a significant social and economic toll.
Most opposition to renewable energy development in China comes from those who are concerned about the higher capital cost of the generation capacity. While a concerted renewables programme can substantially reduce cost through competition and economies-of-scale, there are several additional benefits that can ultimately affect cost. Renewable energy development makes sense from a number of points of view, particularly with regards to energy security, international competition, employment benefits, plus environmental and health improvements.
China has chosen wind power as an important alternative source in order to rebalance its energy mix, combat global warming and ensure energy security. Supportive policies and measures have also been introduced.