The New York Times recently published On Clean Energy, China Skirts Rules, a story dissecting China's international lead in clean energy manufacturing, pointing out that while they are leading, they are also skirting trade rules established by the World Trade Organization by subsidizing their exporters. If these subsidies are not removed by the Chinese government, there may be retaliation from other countries, through the implementation of steep tarriffs.
Below, an excerpt from the NYT's article describing some of these subsidies:
A visit to one of Changsha's newest success stories offers an example of the government's methods. Hunan Sunzone Optoelectronics, a two-year-old company, makes solar panels and ships close to 95 percent of them to Europe. Now it is opening sales offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in preparation for a push into the American market next February.
To help Sunzone, the municipal government transferred to the company 22 acres of valuable urban land close to downtown at a bargain-basement price. That reduced the company's costs and greatly increased its worth and attractiveness to investors.
Meanwhile, a state bank is preparing to lend to the company at a low interest rate, and the provincial government is sweetening the deal by reimbursing the company for most of the interest payments, to help Sunzone double its production capacity.
Heavily subsidized land and loans for an exporter like Sunzone are the rule, not the exception, for clean energy businesses in Changsha and across China, Chinese executives said in interviews over the last three months.
Though a few steps removed from the industrial design of sustainable products, the article illustrates some of the complexities of the global clean energy market as the industry continues to grow, an important perspective to keep in mind as designers. Read the full piece here.
via the infrastructurist
Lisa is dedicated to promoting the American contemporary design scene. She keeps herself busy as the co-founder of the Object Design League, an association of independent designers in Chicago, and design practice Smith&Linder, both co-founded with Caroline Linder. She also teaches foundation research studios at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.