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        Beijing 2022 can be springboard to greener future


        The moment former International Olympic Committee chief Juan Antonio Samaranch announced Beijing had won the 2008 Olympic Games is etched on my mind.

        Thousands of jubilant people took to the streets. There were hugs between cheering strangers. Drivers honked their horns wildly. It was a carnival atmosphere.

        When again the capital was announced as host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, I had hoped for the same, but this time the celebrations seemed a lot more sober.

        I had actually had a sense of this when candidate cities such as Oslo in Norway earlier withdrew their bids, doubting the logic of hosting such an expensive mega-sports event.

        Holding Olympic Games has become a huge challenge for bidding cities, not only in terms of the initial costs involved, but also because of the expected bill of maintaining the venues and stadiums after the competition is over.

        For China's two co-host cities, Beijing and Zhangjiakou, probably add in the price of making artificial or man-made snow from already precious water resources, and the likely expenditure starts to spiral.

        But looking at the bigger picture, the 2022 games are expected to provide huge economic momentum to a wider Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region of 110 million people.

        I view the event, particularly, as providing the perfect opportunity to fundamentally change China's energy mix, by initiating a new mechanism for promoting renewable energy and power industry reform.

        More than 90 percent of electricity consumption in the region was generated from fossil fuels last year, so simply shutting down coal-fired plants in and around Beijing, will not be an option as a third of its pollution is actually imported from neighboring regions.

        Plans announced by Zhangjiakou last week to boost the share of renewables in its total energy mix to 55 percent by 2020 are as welcome as they are ambitious. Germany, a world's leader in green energy, for instance, aims to increase its renewable energy generation to 40 percent to 45 percent of total electricity production by 2025.

        TypeInfo: Industry News

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