China’s citizens overwhelmingly want renewable energy

For several years now, China has been proving its critics wrong–coal use is peaking, and it has been agile in pursuing climate goals. The energy transition there is especially popular among residents of Chinese cities, Cynthia Shahan reports.

windmills in the sunset in China

Renewables are a democratic solution to emissions woes (Photo by Chris Lim, edited, CC BY-SA 2.0)

There are many places in China that are “worst-case scenarios” of the Industrial Age and its wastes. It is no wonder that many Chinese citizens are wide awake to solutions. A new survey (by Ipsos) shows that 96% of Chinese urbanites believe “green power” could help. Of course, it will. Renewable energy can turn cities around.

The Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA) commissioned the survey. They found that China overwhelmingly wants renewable energy.

3,000 residents of Chinese cities surveyed by Ipsos reveal that ~90% of people in China want to prevent environmental pollution. Business Green aptly describes the problem as “afflicting many of the country’s cities.”

It only takes one overly polluted city. One is too much. But China has more that one desperate, “afflicted” situation. Air and water in a crisis state of polluted toxicity are the norms. In many parts of China, one must wear a mask and risk respiratory problems.

The good news is that change is possible at this time in China, and it is occurring. An earlier post on CleanTechnica, The Latest Trends In China’s Continuing Renewable Energy Revolution,” reports that China is working to remedy its many environmental problems. “China has made strategic choices favoring renewable over fossil fuels that are still not widely understood or appreciated,” John A. Mathews wrote.

On a related note, China, Japan, Russia, & South Korea are planning a “Super Grid” for renewable energy.

Business Green continues with the recent info from the Ipsos survey, noting that there’s “overwhelming support for paying a premium on energy bills to secure cleaner energy sources with 92.6% saying they can accept a price rise when buying green power.”

  • 44% said they would support a monthly increase in their bills of RMB 10–30 ($1.5–$4.5) if it delivered clean power supplies
  • 90.6% saying they would accept rises of up to 10% of the average Chinese family monthly electricity bill, which would equate to an increase of $1.50 a month.

Business Green continues: “Peng Peng, director of policy research at the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, said the survey revealed ‘unprecedented’ levels of support for clean energy.”

“Similar surveys carried out in the US and the UK in the last two years found that 50 % and 48 % of US and UK respondents were willing to pay a higher price for renewable energy respectively,” Peng said. “Compared with those overseas, Chinese consumers show stronger willingness to purchase green power, and are ready to pay considerably higher fees for it. However, there are currently no options for consumers in China to select their source of supply.”

It’s sad that it takes severe environmental crisis to get numbers such as China is showing. However, other factors at play could be the government’s strong rhetoric and policies focused on environmental improvement. Nonetheless, those are still coming from citizen demands to some degree.

“Consumers have the right to ask for a better and cleaner energy supply, and to have their needs met,” said Li Junfeng, Director of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation.

The survey found:

  • 87% of respondents want their power bills to include information about the source of their energy.
  • 40.7% said they absolutely would “love” to buy green power.
  • 39.6% said they are “very likely” to buy green power.

The new study by CREIA and IPSOS show that Chinese consumers understand the co-benefits of renewable energy.

Christine Lins, executive secretary of the global REN21 renewable energy initiative said:

“As documented by REN21’s Renewables 2016 Global Status Report, China is market leader in most renewable energy technologies. However, the growth of renewable energy in China, particularly in the PV and wind sectors, is being stunted unnecessarily as a result of the ‘curtailment’ of renewables.”

James Murray continues:

“The survey comes just days after new figures from China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) revealed renewable energy accounted for nearly a quarter of China’s power generation last year, predominantly from hydropower. However, the data also confirmed that curtailment and grid connection issues meant 39 billion kilowatt-hours of capacity sat idle last year.”

This post by Cynthia Shahan originally appeared on Cleantechnica and has been republished with permission.


The "Energiewende Team" has an administrative function. We use this account to repost all the best articles about the global Energiewende from around the web.

1 Comment

  1. “Coal use is peaking ..” No. It’s well past the peak (ca. 2012) and falling: 3% in 2014 and 2015 (link). It seems to be speeding up; the 12-month drop to May 2016 was 15%. Source IEEFA, who are credible. What is not credible is the unsupported claim that hundreds of millions of tonnes of coal can be concealed in multiple statistical sources, from mines, railways, and electricity generators, by a government whose survival depends on cutting urban air pollution.

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