One of the key challenges and tasks for China is finding ways to develop and dramatically scale up the use of sustainable, clean energy. Rhizao is unique from other cities and regions in China because of its holistic emphasis to planning, policies innovation, science & technology promotion, and public education efforts.Determinations regarding energy development and use in Rizhao take place at the level of urban development. Special emphasis is placed on eco-city planning, establishing a circular economy, and new countryside construction and architecture. By 2010, Rizhao is projected to develop significant new energy enterprises, with solar energy and marsh gas accounting for 10% of the total energy supply. Under the guidance of state and provincial administration, policies have been formulated to encourage and guide use of clean energy, to limit the amount of wasted energy (through efficiency improvements), and to provide guidelines for reducing emissions. These guidelines are put forth by the Rizhao Municipal Government with the aim of promoting the construction and use of clean energy products. In residential areas, producers are given incentives, while awareness is heightened among consumer through government awareness programs that focus on solar energy. In addition, the government undertakes a series of publicity activities for promoting energy efficiency in buildings. It promotes a variety of solar energy products through exhibitions that aim to guide and popularize the use of solar energy products, to improve understanding and awareness of solar energy among real estate developers and residents?, and to strengthen awareness of utilizing solar energy in the society as a whole. The solar energy tools producers who exhibit their products at these exhibitions receive reimbursement to cover their energy use and construction costs.The Rizhao Municipal Government has also enacted Regulations on Implementing Solar Energy and Construction Integration to standardize the installation and utilization of solar energy. The Regulations require solar water heaters to be designed, constructed, examined, and accepted simultaneously with the construction procedures of new buildings. Examination and approval authorities examine the plans of the construction projects before sanctioning them, and any blueprints that lack incorporated solar water heaters cannot pass the initial administrative examination of shop drawings, and do not pass the final acceptance. In Rizhao, there is an all-pervading sentiment that "waste" is only resources/inputs that are in the wrong places. Rizhao promotes the conversion of waste water and marsh gas into energy, and there are policies in place to encourage industrial production companies to use marsh gas. The Rizhao Municipal Government gives capital support (with money from an "environment-protection capital" fund) to companies that use waste water to produce marsh gas for electricity generation. Once waste water is up to discharging standards, companies are excused from waste water discharging fees, water source fees, and waste water treatment fees. This policy has not only solved the environmental pollution problem associated with waste water, but it has also led to the development of new ways to produce and utilize marsh gas energy. In rural communities, peasant households are subsidized for utilizing marsh gas energy, a policy that has mobilized many farmers to use marsh gas. There are currently 15,000 households in rural areas that there constructed to use marsh gas, and marsh gas production is now at 4,500,000 cubic meters per year. This has greatly improved the farmers? output and quality of life.Clean energy enterprises in Rizhao City are encouraged to build technical development centers in order to advance technical innovation and the rapid transformation of science and technology achievements. A special fund has been established to support the development of clean energy. Priority is granted to proposals undertaken by technical development centers of clean energy enterprises. Funds have been established to encourage enterprises and individuals who have made contributions to new energy development and technical innovation. In addition, favorable taxation policies have been developed to encourage technology transfer, development, related technical consultation, and technical service in the area of clean energy. Through such efforts and policies, Rizhao City has successively manufactured solar cookers, solar heating engineering, solar cell technology, and has developed new technology for marsh gas electricity generation using wastewater, realizing its potential for enhancing social and economic benefits. Lastly, the Rizhao Municipal Government has initiated a series of public activities to promote energy efficiency. It supports clinics, lectures, on-site guidance, and related publications, all of which enhance the training and education of government officials, entrepreneurs and citizens. The aim is to raise awareness about the importance of energy efficiency and the use of clean energy, understanding about the various forms of clean energy, and the impacts of their use on the development of the local economy and society. In schools, teachers are encouraged to find opportunities to include the fostering of knowledge regarding energy efficiency and its many benefits in their regular school courses.
Approximately 1.5 million people benefit directly from the use of solar and marsh gas energy, and energy efficiency improvements. The potential for indirect benefits is enormous, as Rizhao can act as an example for other cities and communities in China and around the world.
Currently, 400,000 citizen households (totaling 1.3 million people) in Rizhao City use solar energy, and 15,000 households (totaling 45,000 people) use marsh gas. There are 32 installed marsh gas generating units with total installed capacity of 13,500 kW, and the annual generating capacity exceeds 90 million kWh. With the utilization of solar energy in agriculture, construction, lighting and heating, 3.8 billion kWh of electricity can be saved every year, displacing 1.44 million tons of coal. Not only have the City's policies and other efforts helped to create new technologies, companies and jobs, improving the economic status of its people, but they have significantly improved quality of life and the environment for residents in other ways as well. Air quality has improved substantially - Rizhao is now ranked one of the top ten cities in China for air quality - bringing with it tremendous health benefits. Sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions have also been reduced significantly. It has been estimated that, through the use of solar energy, marsh gas (and agricultural greenhouses), Rizhao's CO2 emissions can be reduced by 3,250,000 tons, SO2 by 21,300 tons, and ash dust by 20,000 tons.