Here’s a sobering thought. In 2013, coal remains the fastest growing world fuel by volume.
Indeed, in 2011, coal use climbed seven times faster than wind and solar. And three times faster than gas.
Even by the most established of fossil fuel standards, that’s impressive growth.
And moreover, it’s a reminder that despite the inroads that have been made by many, there’s still a long way to go to facilitate a more sustainable energy mix.
Of course, the US - the world’s largest net exporter of the black stuff - doesn’t help matters. Particularly when it’s biggest customer is China.
Nevertheless, with North America suddenly getting all starry-eyed about the opportunities that fracking presents, perhaps we’re about to witness a change of tune.
Something that’d be pretty timely given commitments from China last week – as it looks set to decrease its reliance on overseas fossil fuel imports and raise renewable energy domestic production capacity.
And it’s no surprise. Since what global superpower wouldn’t want to refocus its manufacturing muscle on its own market to help keep things bright?
What has raised eyebrows however, is the sheer scale of the Chinese targets set.
Indeed, over the next twelve months the National Energy Administration has committed to bolster renewable energy capacity by a not insignificant 49GW.
When you consider that best estimates placed China’s total power capacity exactly twelve months ago at 63.5GW, this’d certainly be an impressive leap.
And a significant win for regional developers and manufacturers, too.
Companies that, when the figures are broken down, are set to benefit from the addition of 21GW of hydroelectric power, 18GW of wind generation and 10GW of solar, according to a statement.
So bad news for western manufacturers, developers and investors then?
Well actually, perhaps not. And potentially, quite the opposite.
For, if China really is going to achieve these goals, it will tie the domestic producers up for months; leaving a significant chunk of the international market to the established European industry stalwarts.
Good news for Vestas then, which has already witnessed a sharp uptick in the value of its shares following analysts’ reassessment of the global turbine price.
For Vestas and for its industry counterparts, let’s hope it’s not just a January blip.
Four Republican congressmen have called for a halt to US offshore wind projects because of unsubstantiated claims blaming the industry for whale deaths. But this obvious misinformation can still be a threat for the growth of the industry.