Pollution reduction is an urgent need in China’s cities, and a report released in June found that the nation’s emissions reduction goals will require $1 trillion (6.6 trillion yuan) in green financing. Part of the program to reduce pollution includes rate cuts for power sourced from renewables, from 0.02 yuan-per-Kilowatt-Hour (kWh) to 0.1 kWh to boost consumption of clean energy.
While the costs are steep and the targets ambitious, China’s State Grid – already the largest power utility worldwide, with nearly 2 million employees and more than $300 billion in annual operating revenue – has an even more ambitious plan to green the world’s energy.
The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) introduced its Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) project that will undertake the building of a $50 trillion global wind and solar power grid in an attempt to connect countries’ grids and generate enough electricity to power the globe, according to Metering and Smart Energy International. The plans include wind farms in the Arctic Circle and solar farms sited at the equator.
The SGCC has stated that if renewable energy generation increases at an annual rate of 12.4 percent globally every year, renewable energy could account for 80 percent of the world’s total energy consumption by 2050.
Earlier this month, Liu Zhenya, chairman of the GEI Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) and the China Electricity Council (CEC), introduced the project’s concept to energy storage company ABB’s CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) President Peter Bakker during a meeting in Switzerland. He said that it was inevitable to construct GEI and form a new clean energy-dominant and electricity-centric pattern for energy development with global allocation to realize energy reform and sustainable development, according to a statement issued by SGCC.
“It bore a great significance to solve environmental pollution, cope with climate change, realize sustained and safe energy supply and alter the life and production style for …mankind,” said the SGCC.
Metering and Smart Energy International reported that the project will have three distinct phases. From now until 2020, the project will focus on the promotion of renewable energy development, domestic grid interconnection and smart grid construction in countries across the world. By 2030, plans to connect grids between countries and building of large energy bases will be accelerated. Following this, in 2050, the focus will switch to “creating polar and equatorial energy bases, concentrating new energy generation technologies in those areas where they can do the most good.”