In a story in today's China Daily …
Rutgers' Chinese solar panels show clean-energy shift
"At Rutgers University in New Jersey, 7,600 panels convert sunlight into electricity, saving some $200,000 in energy costs this year in the biggest solar-power experiment at a US college.
Yingli Green Energy Holding Co, China's second-largest solar-panel maker, supplied the $10 million project. Yingli is one of several Chinese manufacturers that have slashed costs to reduce global prices for solar modules by about 50 percent in two years. The drive made them more affordable for buyers from Rutgers to Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the biggest US retailer.
"It's all about economics," said Chief Executive Officer Al Bucknam of SunDurance Energy, the South Plainfield, New Jersey installer that picked Yingli over Western competitors on price and helped sell the deal to Rutgers as a money-saver.
'The ability of the Chinese to manufacture at scale is a very big reason why the cost of these panels has come down,' said Kathleen A. McGinty at venture capital firm Element Partners in Radnor, Pennsylvania. 'They're a big part of the reason why we can even start to talk about grid parity.'
'The vast factories of Asia will drive prices down, just as they did with consumer electronics,' said Jenny Chase, head of solar energy analysis for New Energy Finance, the London- based research firm owned by Bloomberg LP."
In another story in the same issue of China Daily ….
Air quality drops in first half of year
"Beijing – Economic recovery has partly caused the country's air quality to fall in the first half of the year, the first such fall since 2005, figures from environmental authorities showed on Monday.
'It was the first time for these cities to record a fall in the number of days with good air quality and a rise in the concentration of inhalable particles since 2005,' ministry spokesman Tao Detian said.
That means the country is still facing 'a grave situation in fighting pollution', he said.
The ministry's report also warned that China is still faced with "severe challenges" in pollution control, as a nationwide sampling on water supply found that more than one-quarter of the country's surface water was contaminated.
Environmental monitoring authorities found 26.4 percent of the country's surface water samples at levels IV and V, good for only industrial use and farm irrigation, the ministry reported.
China classifies water quality into six levels, ranging from level I, which is good for drinking, to level VI, which is too polluted for any purpose.
The ministry's latest report said 189 cities out of the 443 cities monitored also suffered from acid rain in the first half of this year."
So the folks at Rutgers feel good about their clean energy and it is affordable because it was manufactured in China at discount prices. Chinese pollution is up in no small part because they bring about those low costs by ignoring the environmental regulations American and European manufacturers have to follow.
So how is the planet helped when we merely shift pollution from the US to China? I can clearly see how American manufacturing and the American economy is harmed by shifting all of this wealth to China, but from where I sit it looks to me as though the planet has not been helped at all – we have merely enabled the folks at Rutgers to feel good about pretending to have help the planet .. and they get to feel good at the expense of US manufacturing and the economic well being of our children and grand-children.
You cannot be a sincere environmentalist and at the same time be a supporter of offshore outsourcing to countries with no regard for the environment. All you can be is a feel-good environmentalist, concerned with appearances but unwilling to step up to the tough issues involved in making a real contribution to the environment.