photo from chinadialogue.net (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

photo from chinadialogue.net (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

Chalk another one up for the efficiency of authoritarian rule. According to an article from Reuters, the government of China has passed a law requiring power grid operators to buy ‘all the electricity produced by renewable energy generators’. This will encourage the use of power from renewable sources such as wind and solar energy plants over cheaper electricity from coal plants.

The Chinese State Council energy department now has the authority to ‘determine the proportion of renewable energy power generation to the overall generating capacity for a certain period’ according to Xinhua news agency. In addition, the Reuters article mentions that the new law or amendment also enables fines to be levied on grid operators who refuse to buy power from renewable energy generators.

These kinds of top down measures enabled by China’s system of authoritarian rule may give China advantages in the implementation of clean or renewable technologies over countries with multi-party democracies, especially in the case of the United States, where opposition to the development of clean energy remains stiff. Those advantages of a one party autocracy are often pointed out by New York Times columnist Tomas Friedman, who believes that China will win in the burgeoning economic market for clean energy if the U.S. doesn’t itself become a leader in the field.

Additional resources:

Reuters – FACTBOX: What China and the US have done on climate

Green China? Actions to improve energy intensity, efficiency and sustainability offer a different picture of the world’s biggest polluter