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Green Innovation in China

Green Innovation in China: China's Wind Power Industry and the Global Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy

Joanna I. Lewis
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  • Book Info
    Green Innovation in China
    Book Description:

    As the greatest coal-producing and consuming nation in the world, China would seem an unlikely haven for wind power. Yet the country now boasts a world-class industry that promises to make low-carbon technology more affordable and available to all. Conducting an empirical study of China's remarkable transition and the possibility of replicating their model elsewhere, Joanna I. Lewis adds greater depth to a theoretical understanding of China's technological innovation systems and its current and future role in a globalized economy.

    Lewis focuses on China's specific methods of international technology transfer, its forms of international cooperation and competition, and its implementation of effective policies promoting the development of a home-grown industry. Just a decade ago, China maintained only a handful of operating wind turbines -- all imported from Europe and the United States. Today, the country is the largest wind power market in the world, with turbines made almost exclusively in its own factories.

    Following this shift reveals how China's political leaders have responded to domestic energy challenges and how they may confront encroaching climate change. The nation's escalation of its wind power use also demonstrates China's ability to leapfrog to cleaner energy technologies -- an option equally viable for other developing countries hoping to bypass gradual industrialization and the "technological lock-in" of hydrocarbon-intensive energy infrastructure. Though setbacks are possible, China could one day come to dominate global wind turbine sales, becoming a hub of technological innovation and a major instigator of low-carbon economic change.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52687-6
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology, Environmental Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  7. Chronology of Wind Power Development in China
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  8. 1 Green Innovation in China
    (pp. 1-4)

    China’s energy system has significant global implications. Now the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China has become the focus of scrutiny as the imperative to address climate change has gained international support. At the core of the climate change challenge is China’s energy sector, the world’s single largest source of emissions.

    As the biggest coal-consuming and coal-producing nation in the world, China is perhaps an unlikely place to find a burgeoning wind power industry. Yet today China is the biggest wind power market in the world and builds almost all its wind turbines at home. China’s wind power capacity...

  9. 2 China’s Energy and Climate Challenge
    (pp. 5-25)

    China has made unprecedented achievements in the past three decades.¹ Its economic growth rates have exceeded those of any other country in the world, enabling a tenfold increase in per capita income and lifting an estimated 400 million people out of poverty. While rising energy consumption fueled this rapid economic growth, the overall energy intensity of the economy has decreased, making China three times more energy efficient.

    Yet these figures only begin to tell the story of China’s rise and its impact on the environment. While economic output has increased rapidly, the share contributed by energy-intensive products has also increased,...

  10. 3 China in the Global Wind Power Innovation System
    (pp. 26-74)

    People have been harnessing energy from the wind for thousands of years. Windmills were developed to aid in the grinding of grain and the pumping, irrigation and drainage of water, with the first simple windmills believed to have been used in China as early as 200 b.c. Merchants and crusaders are thought to have carried the idea for the technology back to Europe, where it came to be used for a variety of industrial purposes in the centuries preceding the Industrial Revolution. Windmills were first used to generate electricity in the United States in the late nineteenth century, when the...

  11. 4 The Role of Foreign Technology in China’s Wind Power Industry Development
    (pp. 75-120)

    As modern wind turbine technology was first developed by companies in Europe and the United States, it is not surprising that the first utility-scale wind turbines installed in China were imported from these regions. European and American wind turbine manufacturers were demonstrating their technology in China as early as the mid-1980s. These demonstrations created opportunities for learning and led to local partnerships, and eventually to a shift from technology imports to local manufacturing. Along the way, technology transfers from overseas companies to local Chinese companies, whether in the form of intellectual property, skilled personnel, or other informal means of knowledge...

  12. 5 Goldwind and the Emergence of the Chinese Wind Industry
    (pp. 121-144)

    Goldwind was China’s first leading wind turbine manufacturer. Now ranked among the top three domestic wind companies, Goldwind has benefited from a combination of sustained government support and an effective technology acquisition and development strategy. As the first Chinese-owned wind turbine manufacturer to produce a successful wind turbine design, it has developed a reputation for independent technology innovation.

    Led by a CEO who is deeply committed to the company and to the industry, Goldwind’s corporate culture encourages creativity in its employees and among its technology partners in a manner that is unusual among Chinese firms. An investigation of how Goldwind...

  13. 6 Wind Energy Leapfrogging in Emerging Economies
    (pp. 145-167)

    While modern wind power technology originated in Europe and the United States, the emerging economies are quickly becoming the hub of the global wind power industry.¹ While many emerging economies are now beginning to pursue wind power development, China and India are the only ones already among the top wind power utilizers in the world. India was the early emerging economy leader in wind power development, but it was surpassed by China in 2009. China and India are also the only two emerging economies with top-tier wind turbine manufacturers. South Korea is still a relative newcomer to the wind industry,...

  14. 7 Engaging China on Clean Energy Cooperation
    (pp. 168-188)

    Climate change is one of the most pressing international challenges of our time, and thus appropriately a great deal of research scrutinizes the international negotiations that seek to reduce global carbon emissions. But outside these efforts, an expanding but distinct area of international coordination with the potential for climate change mitigation has emerged: bilateral clean energy cooperation.¹ Cross-border collaboration on clean energy research, development and deployment promises to speed the rate at which innovation occurs. Policy makers also clearly believe in the potential of such models of collaboration. In 2009 the Obama administration launched several major new initiatives in which...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 189-234)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 235-264)
  17. Index
    (pp. 265-282)