June 15, 2007

China's Clean Energy Tech: Wind turbines, solar panels, and cheap blenders

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Over this past weekend I had the pleasure of representing GE at the 2007 China Beijing International Energy Saving and Environmental Protection Exhibition. Boy oh boy, what a circus! Attendees included celebrities from the International Olympic Committee, at least 100 photographers, ultra-modern (maybe even post-modern) display booths from major corporations, and of course the necessary exhibition “free sample infomercials.” I still haven’t figured out how the blender company got a booth, but I’m sure they were the most popular destination there.

But seriously, the good news is that there were dozens upon dozens of clean technology vendors, nearly all marketing products which are accessible to the Chinese market, such as solar thermal water heaters, water-efficient shower heads, or fluorescent lights. Not only do these technologies make economic sense for the Chinese, they also (have the potential to) go great lengths in addressing China’s critical issues of water, energy, and resource scarcity. It is perhaps ironic how well these clean technologies are faring in a market economy that has nothing like the “clean tech” subsidies of the U.S.!