Though China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas producer, the country is making a solid effort to commit to renewable energy, including building a solar power plant in the Gobi desert.
With construction officially on the way, this will be the first commercial power plant built on such a large scale.
A joint venture between California-based BrightSource Energy and the Shanghai Electric Group, the plant will span across 25 square kilometers (nearly 10 square miles) of unused land in the Qinghai province, generating 200 megawatts of power. "Its designed heat storage is 15 hours, thus, it can guarantee stable, continual power generation," said Wu Longyi, board chair of the Qinghai Solar-Thermal Power Group, in a statement.
This new solar plant means that China will cut coal use by 4.26 million metric tons (4.69 million tons) every year, reducing the country’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by 896,000 metric tons (987,671 tons) and sulfur dioxide emissions by 8,080 metric tons (8,906 tons).
As the world’s biggest investor in renewable energy, the country’s capacity for generating solar has been increasing fast towards its aim of generating 100 gigawatts of power by 2020.