China's race for a green recycling system
China is in a race against its rapidly ageing wind turbines. China’s largest domestic wind turbine manufacturer, ‘Goldwind’ started operating in 1998, and wind turbines typically last for between 20-25 years, so the conundrum is — how will China manage their disposal? China is also a major producer of solar panels, and many of these panels are nearing the end of their lifespan.
If you want to understand the sheer scale of China’s dominance in the clean energy sector, in 2021, The Economist estimated that China operated nearly half of offshore wind power globally. That’s a lot of non-biodegradable materials that could pose an enormous environmental risk. However, China has set up their very own recycling system to tackle the issue. Their Natural Development and Reform Commission have created a plan for decommissioning and recycling wind and solar facilities, promising a fully functioning recycling process by the decade's end. The question is, is that too late? With rapidly ageing equipment, China may need to accelerate its recycling efforts.