China aims to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.According to an action plan released last year, the country is set to raise the share of nonfossil energy consumption to about 25 percent by 2030, and lower CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by more than 65 percent by 2030, compared with the 2005 level.
Shanxi is moving to the forefront of the green push as it gears up the reform of its pillar energy sector, including the extensive implementation of energy-saving measures and promotion of carbon-reducing technologies.
Major steps, such as the cleanup of polluting enterprises along the Yellow River and the rollout of ultra-low emissions standards for industry, are set to help the province achieve an annual reduction of more than 3 percent in energy consumption per unit of GDP, according to provincial authorities.
The moves have reached major coal-related stakeholders across the province, covering at least 22 iron and steel joint enterprises, 14 coking enterprises and 10 cement enterprises, which completed ultra-low emission transformation of bulk coal last year.
Other than solar and wind power, the province is turning its attention to the development of hydrogen, including the production of hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles.
Hydrogen industry clusters have been created in major cities such as Taiyuan, Datong and Jinzhong. The annual hydrogen production capacity of the province has reached 3 million tons, according to the Shanxi Energy Administration.
The green inroads are being felt on the ground by residents like Zhao Gang, who works in the city of Linfen and drives a new energy vehicle back to Sanhe village, about an hour away, to visit his parents.
"There's a charging station in my hometown, so I don't have to worry about making the trip anymore."
The charging station is located opposite the Sanhe primary school. It is equipped with a 60 kW electric vehicle charger, which many motorists such as Zhao said reflects the new energy sources, technologies and services helping to improve people's lives. The local power and utilities supplier has invested more than 90 million yuan to build more than 100 charging stations throughout the city.
Meanwhile, Shanxi's green investments are closely felt in the improvement of its air quality.
In 2021, the average annual concentration of PM2.5－particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns that is harmful to health－in more than 10 major districts and cities in the province fell to a record low of 39 micrograms per cubic meter, according to industry figures.
In addition, the average annual concentration of the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide met industry safety levels, and sulfur dioxide concentrations improved for four consecutive years, with the proportion of days recording good air quality hitting more than 72 percent.
Wang Yanfeng, director of the provincial department of ecology and environment, said that promoting green energy consumption and pollution reduction in Shanxi is intricately linked to ecological protection and high-quality development in the Yellow River basin area.
"Aiming for blue skies, clear waters and beautiful land will involve vigorously supporting the market-oriented development of the low-carbon industry, further improving the industrial chain, and working to build a low-carbon 'Shanxi model'," Wang said.
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