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Written by guest writer and AREDAY speaker Lester Brown, Founder & President Earth Policy Institute

For almost as long as I can remember we have been saying that the United States, with 5 percent of the world’s people, consumes a third or more of the earth’s resources. That was true. It is no longer true. Today China consumes more basic resources than the United States does.

Among the key commodities such as grain, meat, oil, coal, and steel, China consumes more of each than the United States except for oil, where the United States still has a wide (though narrowing) lead. China uses a quarter more grain than the United States. Its meat consumption is double that of the United States. It uses three times as much coal and four times as much steel.

Coal Consumption in China and the United States, 1965-2010

These numbers reflect national consumption, but what would happen if consumption per person in China were to catch up to that of the United States? If we assume conservatively that China’s economy slows from the 11 percent annual growth of recent years to 8 percent, then in 2035 income per person in China will reach the current U.S. level.

Per Capita Gross Domestic Product Based on Purchasing Power Parity in China, 1980-2010, with Projections to 2035

If we also assume that the Chinese will spend their income more or less as Americans do today, then we can translate their income into consumption. If, for example, each person in China consumes paper at the current American rate, then in 2035 China’s 1.38 billion people will use four fifths as much paper as is produced worldwide today. There go the world’s forests.

Paper Consumption in China, 1998-2010, with Projection for Chinese Consumption in 2035

If Chinese grain consumption per person in 2035 were to equal the current U.S. level, China would need 1.5 billion tons of grain, nearly 70 percent of the 2.2 billion tons the world’s farmers now harvest each year.

Grain Consumption in China, 1960-2010, with Projection for 2035

If we assume that in 2035 there are three cars for every four people in China, as there now are in the United States, China will have 1.1 billion cars. The entire world currently has just over one billion. To provide the needed roads, highways, and parking lots, China would have to pave an area equivalent to more than two thirds the land it currently has in rice.

Rice Area in China, 2010, and Projected Paved Area Required for 1.1 Billion Cars in 2035

By 2035 China would need 85 million barrels of oil a day. The world is currently producing 86 million barrels a day and may never produce much more than that. There go the world’s oil reserves.

Oil Consumption in the United States and China, 2010, with Projections for 2035

What China is teaching us is that the western economic model—the fossil-fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy—will not work for the world. If it does not work for China, it will not work for India, which by 2035 is projected to have an even larger population than China. Nor will it work for the other 3 billion people in developing countries who are also dreaming the “American dream.” And in an increasingly integrated global economy, where we all depend on the same grain, oil, and steel, the western economic model will no longer work for the industrial countries either.

The overriding challenge for our generation is to build a new economy—one that is powered largely by renewable sources of energy, that has a much more diversified transport system, and that reuses and recycles everything. We have the technology to build this new economy, an economy that will allow us to sustain economic progress. But can we muster the political will to translate this potential into reality?

Written by guest blogger, AREDAY speaker, Hunter Lovins

The plane settles into its cruise altitude and I to writing – three hours to Chicago, swap planes, then eight to the Netherlands. Long night.

I’m bound east to consult for Royal Dutch Shell. No idea what they want from me, but I’ll be most interested to chat with them about their world-view. And to give em a piece of my mind. I would anyway, but now it’s a debt. As is this blog.

Once one of the world’s most progressive companies, the Shell I knew prospered under the able leadership of such Managing Directors as Bobby Reid and Sir Mark Moody Stuart, the last Managing Director for whom I consulted. Under these leaders, Shell was on an arc away from being an oil company to being a diversified energy provider, launching solar, wind, hydrogen, biofuels and efficiency divisions. It didn’t matter, for example, to Sir Mark that Shell did not have the proven reserves to long remain an oil company (and he was well aware that the world as we know it could not long survive Shell’s continuing to extract and enable us to burn fossil fuels.) If you are migrating away from oil, it’s a race to the future in which the first movers have the advantage. Under this vision Shell became the world’s largest company and the darling of the socially responsible investment crowd.

Sir Mark rotated out, and an unrepentant oilman named Phil Watts took over. I’ve not been back since. Watts tried to do a U-turn on Shell’s road to sustainability. But he had a little problem: the pesky lack of reserves. So he did what any corporatist, willfully ignoring the dictates of a carbon-constrained world will do: he cooked the books. And got caught. For which Shell shareholders took a 40% sharebath. The Economist called it Shell’s Hell. Phil got the sack, but Shell had returned to the bad old days. It has since been responsible for spilling oil all over the Niger Delta (more oil has been spilled there every year since oiing began in 1956 than the whole BP catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico) and bringing to the world that marvelous technology known as fracking. Best I can tell from Shell’s website, they now see their future as being a gas company. As you can see, we’ve a bit to talk about.

This is all coming together at an interesting time. In early August 2011 Shell admitted to spilling in 2008 more oil in Ogoniland, a small kingdom in the Niger Delta, than ruptured from the Exxon Valdez. The admission came because of a ruling for the plaintiffs in a class action suit brought in the UK by the people of Bodo, one of the more egregiously polluted villages in Ogoniland. It was promptly followed by the release of a study from the United Nations Environmental Program detailing the massive fouling of Ogoniland by Shell and the other oil companies.

Remember Ogoniland? It was home to Ken Saro-Wiwa, the gentle poet, hanged by the Nigerian government in 1995 with the complicity of Shell and the other majors working in the Delta. Ken was accused of killing other Ogoni leaders. Ken, a fellow Right Livelihood laureate was almost certainly not guilty, but as a charismatic and effective spokesperson for the Ogoni people’s fight against the decimation of their homeland, he was clearly someone the majors wished gone. Shell and the others could have stopped the hanging, vigorously protested by many of us and by human rights groups the world around. They did not, and the world lost a wonderful, gallant man.

That, plus the proposal to scuttle the Brent Spar drill rig in the North Sea elicited such outrage that activists in Europe started burning Shell gas stations. The British government instructed Shell to refuse any negotiations, calling it a matter of British National Security. Sir Mark, then the Managing Director responded more thoughtfully. “No,” he said, “Shell had made mistakes, needed to rethink its business model, and reframe its relationships with civil society.” He put up a website saying as much, and asking the public to talk to Shell. He issued the first Shell sustainability report, one of the first such by a major corporation, and earned himself a marvelous role in the movie The Corporation, as he and his wife, Judy, served tea to protesters on their lawn. And yes, he really is that sort of man. And he led Shell into a much brighter future. For a time.

I don’t know what sort of man rules Shell today. Just as I briefed the whole senior management at Walmart so that I could look Lee Scott in the eye and see if I thought he was serious (I believe he was) I want to go talk to Shell.

That Shell’s scenario planning team would invite me to a workshop on the energy, food, water nexus, and ask me to give the opening lecture, I took as a good sign. But I take it as a bad sign that this summer Shell only reluctantly admitted that it had been leaking oil into the North Sea. The worst North Sea spill in a decade, the Gannett Alpha I platform spilled about 1,300 barrels before (we are told) being capped. This is an order of magnitude less than the BP spill of 4.9 million barrels a year earlier, but disconcerting is that it happened at all – Shell had claimed such a blowout could not happen on its watch, as it uses different technology than BP. And Shell now seeks permission to drill in the Arctic, where such a disaster would be vastly harder to contain.

Didja even know about the spill? I read the UK Guardian, so watched as the several mile long oil sheen alerted observers off Aberdeen Scotland, who went asking. Only then did Shell sheepishly admit that, well, yes, they did have a small problem at one of their rigs.

C’mon, boys, this is not the way that a responsible company does business.

This was precisely the point one of my favorite partners made to me two weeks ago as we chatted over supper at a favorite San Francisco bar. What should have been a delight of an evening suddenly turned prickly as I found myself defending why I’d failed to do something I’d no idea I’d agreed to.

“You said you were going to give Shell a piece of your mind. Where it is?!”

“Aye, and I shall. I’ll be there in two weeks.”

“No, in your blog. Why haven’t you written it?”

In the prior week I’d driven 800 miles, speaking at American Renewable Energy Day in Aspen, then scrambling back over the divide to judge the entrepreneurial presentations at Alex Bogusky’s Common Pitch Fest. Then back to Aspen to keynote the event’s big day, and drinking with such friends as John Perry Barlow at a gala celebrating the great oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle in a fake Tuscan Villa mansion high up Red Mountain. Aye, would have been a very long weekend, traversing the Rockies four times, but for getting to do it at summer’s glorious height in my Porsche with my friend Jeff Hohensee by my side.

Then flying west to speak at Accelerating Sustainable Performance at Infineon Raceway and getting to take hot laps in a Tesla and an Indy car. [See photos (1) & (2)]. Confession: that is wicked fun. By the way, however snappy the Tesla’s electric torque is, the Indy car’s alcohol-fueled punch is a whole lot faster. We ran the track only 18 seconds slower than the next days racers did.

The rest of the week went to kicking off our program in San Rafael to support its small business community [see NCS’ Solutions at the Speed of Business] and talking to Pacific Gas and Electric about enabling its small business customers to access our Solutions tool and meeting with colleagues from Bainbridge Graduate Institute. So yes, I’ve been a little busy.

In truth I’d sat down to supper not thinking much of whether I should have been writing, but rather feeling guilty that I’d come west when the royalty of American Activism (Randy Hayes – founder of Rainforest Action Network and Phil Radford, head of Greenpeace) – with whom I’d been drinking in the J Bar in Aspen a few days prior had headed east to be arrested in front of the White House. Along with 1,250 other American citizens they called on Obama to finally grow a spine and meet the commitments he made to take a principled stand against climate change by declining to permit the Keystone pipeline bringing south the Canadian tar sands oil that Shell is digging up at vast environmental cost.

That all seemed a lot to say to explain why I hadn’t written a blog I hadn’t known I’d been supposed to do.

So I temporized: “Just cause….”

Mistake. He rounded on me, accusing me with his rapier-like lawyer’s mind of not wanting to endanger my trip to Rotterdam – and more, the fee that Natural Capitalism would receive for my work.

OK, whoa, buddy, that’s unfair.

We’ve fought before, and the temptation rose to reply in kind.

But this is what friends are for, isn’t it? To call you when they think you might be compromising integrity.

It’s a fine line we walk, Dave Brower alums, activists who hold a vision all living things might share, to also dance with the forces that threaten it all, to seek to turn them to a way that solves the daunting challenges while also offering more profit. That’s the whole thrust of Climate Capitalism: there are better business ways to solve global weirding.

I believe, I truly do, that we can find a way shy of the revolution some now are saying it will take to end the hold that the corporatists have on humanity’s future to craft a future before the economy totally implodes.

But time grows short. NASA scientist Dr James Hansen and many other climatologists claim that if tar sand development goes forward, it’s game over for our ability to preserve a stable climate.  That’s why Jim was one of those arrested last week. Randy Hayes, as he is being hauled to jail always tells the police that he apologizes for taking their time from dealing with real criminals, but that these are life and death matters. The now millions of climate refugees streaming a thousand a day into Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya, fleeing a 60 year drought are not casual tourists. Climate change is already life and death for them.

“They’re buying your silence,” my friend slashed. We’d talked, several weeks before about the North Sea spill, agreeing it was reprehensible of Shell to have declined to report its spill til caught, and that it should call into question their drilling in the Arctic. I’d said then that I was going to give them a piece of my mind.

I guess he wanted to see it in print.

“Why does that matter?” I asked. “I’ll write, if you think that will help, but I propose to go talk with the Shell folk first.” Talking to a company in person has always seemed to me the responsible approach, given that I am often privileged to be able to do that.

“But you are the voice that people rely on to say it publicly.” He countered. “No one knows about the oil spill. They count on you to tell them such things.”

Is that true? Had you heard about the spill? Apparently. Over the following days I asked most everyone I met, and no one had.

But more, is what I write really cared about by the millions of people he seemed to think are hanging on my words?

“That’s the power of the web,” he argued.

We settled that I would write. And he’d go speak with a brilliant designer of urban agriculture who I think can help a project he’s working on.

So I wing east, writing. I’ll e-mail this to Nancy to post before I walk into the meeting.

And thanks, friend, for keeping me honest. Maybe next time we can have that supper of soft smiles.

In mid-July China’s Xinhua news service reported “green tide”.  No, this is not some new environmental cleaning product, but in this case it is nearly 7,700 square miles of an algae bloom that has taken over the Yellow Sea. A species of marine plankton known as Enteromorpha prolifera, is the prolific life form upsetting the natural balance. It is found in waters all around the world however, it’s not a problem unless it expands into macro-algal blooms. The cause is still being questioned but in many cases blooms this massive require warm ocean temperatures and waters rich in phosphorus and nitrogen. Eutrophication, or an overabundance of these nutrients often comes from fertilizer and sewage runoff.  When the algae die off, their decomposition creates a state of hypoxia where more oxygen is being consumed than is being produced to keep life forms alive – thus creating “dead-zones”.  There are hypoxic zones all over the world.  The Gulf of Mexico has one of the largest, although varying in size, itcan cover up to 6,000-7,000 square miles.

With the earth’s surface covered in about 71% water over 193 million square miles, we have been prone as a civilization to think of the ocean as invincible. However, human activities over the past two centuries are proving that viewpoint dead wrong. According to findings published this June in Nature Geoscience, the current CO2 emissions are 10 times higher than a severe global warming era of our planet known as the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), around 55.9 million years ago.

The CO2 that doesn’t remain in the atmosphere dissolves in the ocean creating acidification. This is happening at an unprecedented rate.  By some estimates the ocean is now 30% more acidic than it was before the Industrial Revolution and the advent of fossil fuels.  This is bad news for shell forming creatures like corals which will dissolve or won’t be able to form in the first place. Coral reefs are home to more species per unit area than any other marine environment.

Unlike protected lands around the planet, less than 1% of the ocean is protected in any way. There is hope, though according to Dr. Sylvia Earle, who passionately wants “to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas–Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.”  These areas provide carbon sinks and are critical to marine diversity and thus the very health of the oceans.

Earle just returned the last week in July from leading her Mission Blue Expedition to the Swan Islands and Mesoamerican reef, the Atlantic Ocean’s largest coral reef 90 miles off the coast of Honduras. Often referred to as the “Galapagos of the Caribbean,” this area is one of the Hope Spots she aims to have declared a Marine Protected Area (MPA).The area was sadly overfished but still rich with diversity, which provides hope.        Dr. Earle called on the government and people of Honduras to make it a safe haven and “place of renewal”. Earle and her team have put out a call to action, to all of us to protect this hope spot – and the 19 others she has targeted in need of MPA status. You can donate to local conservation efforts aimed at safeguarding these precious  ocean treasures.  www.sylviaearlealliance.org

I was able to keep abreast of this exciting 7 day expedition in real time as she posted twitters, blogs and fabulous photos.  If you missed the opportunity, Dr. Earle, will be a Keynote speaker for the upcoming AREDAY Summit and Ocean Elders Gala, where you can hear her own inspirational account of the expedition.

Dr. Sylvia Earle is a world-renowned oceanographer, National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence and  2009 TED Prize Winner, also known as “Her Deepness”.

From April 25-28, 2011 the American South was devastated by the deadliest barrage of tornadoes the nation had ever seen. Over 300 tornadoes, many of them F4 and F5’s (the strongest and largest category of tornado), touched down across 6 southern states killing approximately 318 people, and leaving countless more injured and homeless.

NOAA Recently Released this amazing aerial image of the tornadoesImage courtesy of NOAA and Google Earth

Unfortunately, natural disasters have become a much more common occurrence around the world over the past 10 years. From the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, to the 2004 tsunami in India (2 of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history), and now with this tragic storm across the South, it’s hard to ignore the increasing frequency of these natural disasters.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), annual natural disaster frequency has risen steadily every year since about 1975. This year is also when global warming began to have a significant affect on global temperature and ocean levels. There’s no denying that there’s a connection between climate change and natural disasters, so the question becomes, what can we do about it?

The fight for the Human race’s survival through all these hard times will be a main topic this year at AREDAY, and we’ll have top scientists, policy-makers, and government officials to discuss the issue thoroughly. We’re optimistic that there will be significant progress and hopefully some amazing breakthroughs throughout the entire summit and exposition!

Book your tickets for AREDAY this year on August 18-21 and be a part of one of the largest climate change summits in America!

Thomas Jefferson said, “Every generation needs a new revolution.” 16-year old Alex Loorz took those words to heart. Alex is leading the iMatter March revolution March 7th-14th around the country to combat climate change. Where is it taking place? “On the city blocks of San Francisco and the suburban parks of Philadelphia. From Beijing to Boston, and Ghana to Greece. From coal plants to wind farms, from schools to malls, through main streets to capitol steps. Every march is independently organized by youth leaders and those who love them.” Supporters include Ted Turner and Robert Redford. Partners include 350.org, AREDAY, the National Wildlife Federation, the Green Building Council and many more.

2011-05-10-imatter1.jpg
Photo Credit: iMatter March

The iMatter March is an opportunity to stand up and be heard on the most important issue of our time: climate change. The addiction we have to fossil fuels threatens the future of our nation and children. iMatter March is a call to action. The intent is to unite the voices of young people who care about the earth.

The story of Alec Loorz is truly amazing. “Alec Loorz was 12 when his mother nudged him to see a boring documentary that changed his life. Up until then, Alec had been a regular kid, goofing off in class, his primary concern being how much he could level up in his favorite video game.” Today, Alex is leading the path on the fight for climate change.

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Photo Credit: iMatter March

In Colorado, iMatter March “will take place in Denver on May 14, beginning at noon at Cuernavaca Park (20th St. at Platte St., north of REI – take light rail to Union Station and walk to the park, or bike on the Platte River Greenway), gaining strength along its two-mile route to Civic Center park, Colfax and Broadway. Hoping to be 10,000 strong for Denver’s march, young people will join with parents, grandparents, schools, teachers, organizations, green businesses, churches and friends in cities and communities all across the country and all around the world. Once marchers arrive at Civic Center, speakers and live entertainment will emphasize the importance of honestly addressing environmental and climate crises challenging our planet. Confirmed participants include: environmental activist Johnny 5, lead singer of Denver’s well-known band, The Flobots; Congressman Jared Polis; Rev. Peter S. Sawtell, executive director of Eco-Justice Ministries; Sally Ranney, co-director of American Renewable Energy Day; and Boulder Mayor Susan Osborne.”

You can sign up on Facebook to join a march or go here website to find out about specific events in your area this weekend.

On April 20th, 2010, an explosion on BP’s “Deepwater Horizon” oil drill in the Gulf of Mexico caught the attention of the world. Killing 11 men and injuring many more, most viewers thought that that was the end of it. A horrible tragedy affecting families and the surrounding waters….but it didn’t stop there. Oil began to rush from a well-head that sat at over 15 thousand feet below sea-level and panic ensued. The well-head’s deep location, gigantic size, and enormous output, made a solution seemingly impossible. With every day gone by, over 2 million gallons spilled into the precious marine environment that is the Gulf of Mexico. The world watched in horror, helpless from their living rooms, as images of oil-covered birds and turtles struggling to survive flashed before their eyes.

3 months, and 210 million gallons of crude oil later, the deepwater well-head was finally capped, leaving countless marine species dead, beaches destroyed, and livelihoods shattered. The affect of this inexplicable disaster is still felt today and should never be forgotten.

Here at AREDAY, we have chosen to show our support through sponsoring and co-producing Guardians of the Gulf’s Anniversary and Memorial event, Harmony for Health. Held this Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 at the House of Blues in New Orleans, the Unity for the Gulf Concert is an event not to be missed! Please do your part in remembering this disaster. Whether it’s just a moment of silence, spreading the word around your community, or donating to AREDAY or Guardians of the Gulf, anything you can do will be heard and appreciated!

Thank you!

The United States is lagging behind China in solar power.  A headline on Bloomberg News today highlights the fact that China is leading the way in figuring out how to capture the solar energy market share.

Bloomberg News:  China Profits from Solar Policy as Europe Backpedals

China, the world’s biggest electricity consumer, is figuring out how to capture a larger share of the solar-energy market without losing money.

The government will spend at least a year studying Europe’s system of paying above-market prices for solar power before deciding if there’s a better way to spur clean-energy plants across China, said Wu Dacheng, an adviser to national power regulators. The delay has stalled projects planned on Chinese soil by developers such as First Solar Inc. of the U.S.

“We need to learn from European countries like Germany” that pay subsidized rates to spark solar-panel installations, Wu, vice chairman of the Solar Photovoltaic Committee of China’s Renewable Energy Society, said in an interview.

Europe, which attracted more than $65 billion in solar plant investment in 2010, is providing lessons for China. Germany, the largest panel market, together with Spain and France carried out four unscheduled subsidy cuts in 2010, trying to slow a torrent of projects by developers and speculators.

China’s wait-and-see strategy on projects is part of a broader industrial plan to take a leading global role in harnessing energy from the sun. China is first focusing state support on its own equipment manufacturers. That helps them gain market share and cut prices, lowering the eventual cost of a nationwide solar construction program China plans for itself.

“China is definitely playing a longer game in solar,” Daniel Guttmann, head of renewable energy strategy at the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in London, said by telephone. “It has done a lot to subsidize its manufacturers.”

Polysilicon to Panels

The government’s China Development Bank alone approved more than 126 billion yuan ($19 billion) in credit facilities in the second half of last year for makers of everything from the raw material of polysilicon to the finished solar panel, including Baoding-based Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

China this year will increase its share of the global solar photovoltaic panel market by about 10 percentage points and for the first time supply a majority of the devices that turn sunlight into power, according to London-based Bloomberg New Energy Finance. In contrast, China bought less than 3 percent of the 18.5 gigawatts in estimated worldwide panel sales last year for its domestic projects.

Chinese manufacturers outperformed most U.S. and European competitors in stock markets in the 12 months through Feb. 11. The top three, led by LDK Solar Co., gained about 65 percent on average in the period, compared with 58 percent for the top three based in the U.S. and 8.8 percent for the Europeans.

U.S. Incentives

In the U.S., solar project developers have relied on a different incentive system. They may earn a federal investment tax credit that pays for as much as a third of the initial cost, as well as renewable energy mandates in 29 states that require utilities to buy an increasing portion of their power supplies from solar and wind plants.

The incentives are less than in many European countries, where U.S. manufacturers make most of their sales.

As panel prices drop, China plans to boost its own solar power installations by more than 60-fold to 20 gigawatts, or the equivalent of about 18 new nuclear plants, by 2020 from 2009. A nationwide subsidy or auction program is needed, though not a direct copy of the European or U.S. model, which is based on tax breaks, Wu said.

China is concerned that Europe’s subsidized rates, or feed- in tariffs, were so large that governments had to slash them earlier than planned to not strain government finances, Wu said. Spain alone spent 5.3 billion euros ($7.3 billion) subsidizing renewable power generation last year.

‘Bubbles, Super-profits’

“China has seen that many European countries did not quite get the right feed-in tariff levels, with bubbles and super- profits for investors in some cases, and might want to give careful thought to set the right levels,” Guttman said.

European nations are trimming subsidies and studying limits on permits. The moves respond to a plunge in solar panel prices and are aimed at keeping plant operators from earning too much at the expense of consumers who must pay the above-market rates.

Germany has reduced incentives four times since January 2009 and France lowered rates twice last year and imposed a three-month freeze on projects in December after receiving as many as 3,000 applications a day from developers.

In China, several demonstration projects weren’t developed because companies were deterred by the absence of a subsidized power purchase price, Wu said in the interview last month.

Arizona’s First Solar

Arizona-based First Solar, the largest maker of thin-film solar modules, agreed in 2009 to set up a 2,000-megawatt plant in China, billed as the world’s biggest. On Jan. 5, it settled instead for a 30-megawatt plant in Ordos and to take state-owned China Guangdong Nuclear Solar Energy Development Co. as a partner. First Solar said it may expand the project in stages until it reaches the original size proposed.

China began offering subsidies in 2009 to a limited number of solar power projects using bidding rounds. However, in November the government canceled 39 solar projects under the program, known as Golden Sun, citing “inability to implement.” State-owned Huanghe Hydropower Development Co. also canceled a 5-megawatt project in Geermu, Qinghai province.

A second round of bids for 280 megawatts in solar concessions was held on Aug. 10 and a third one for 500 megawatts is due this year.

China’s regulator, the National Energy Administration, hasn’t started studying the solar premium prices yet, said Ren Dongming, deputy director of the Centre for Renewable Energy Development. The Centre, which is administered by the National Development and Reform Commission, had previously participated in drafting wind-energy prices.

China is currently applying the model used to determine wind tariffs for solar projects. The country has issued six national tenders for wind projects to set different levels of tariffs depending on wind resource levels.

“China may follow a pricing model for solar projects that is similar to how wind projects are paid,” said Na An, a New Energy Finance analyst.