"Ni hao !" That's Chinese for "Hi there !"
It's not a "developing" country any more
By Richard C. Bartlett
A recent trip in China changed my conception of that country. It's not a "developing" country any more. Their highways are broad (see on right), lit better than our city streets, and landscaped like entries in the Spring Flower Show. The architecture is extremely creative and functional. Big areas of this huge country are protected. The people all look happy and trim, and are very welcoming. Anyone going to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing will be amazed at what they see. They will also choke and cough in the perpetually polluted air. But they are doing something about it.
Our American response to climate change, acid rain, and air contamination is weak indeed by comparison. Aware that coal fired power plants ( producing 70% of the nation's electricity) are the prime offenders, the Chinese have constructed the world's largest hydro-electric dam, the Three Gorges Dam (on right) on the Yangtze River. It is flooding large areas, and displaced millions of people, but it will cleanly produce 40% of the whole country's power. ( That's for 1.3 billion voltage-gulping citizens ! )
They are leaping into the wind turbine parade of nations. Google offers 1,860,000 entries for "China wind power ! They have the potential for 1,000,000+ megawatts of production, 1/4 of it on land, 3/4 of it offshore. Lin Yuan, head of the Zhangbei county energy department says the only problem is they can't get turbines to buy fast enough.
To satisfy that appetite for turbines GE has contracted to spend $50 million on research and manufacturing facilities. Spain's ENH has signed on for a $31 million plant to construct turbines. The Danish firm Vesta is spending $30 million on a turbine blade factory. Shares of Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology Co. soared 234% on their first day on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Isn't it a shame we are so backward about wind power? We too could be benefiting ecologically and economically if we were as smart as other countries. The world moves forward while we twiddle our thumbs.
"Yi huir jian." That's "See you later," which uses up my miniscule vocabulary.
Richard C. Bartlett, Cotuit
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