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A worker walks on solar panels in China. Thousands of solar panels are used to help power the Chinese city of Baoding, creating electricity from sunlight. (AP Images)

China's Solar City

A city near China’s capital leads the way in clean-energy production

By Tyrus Cukavac | August 8 , 2011
<br />Baoding is also one of the leading manufacturers of solar cells and wind turbines. (AP Images)

Baoding is also one of the leading manufacturers of solar cells and wind turbines. (AP Images)

Baoding has an environmentally friendly mission. Many of its buildings are covered in solar panels, which take the sun's energy and turn it into electricity. All public buildings in Baoding feature rooftop wind turbines, which use the wind to generate power. The city government requires newer buildings to include water heaters powered by sunlight. Even traffic lights have solar panels attached to them!

A city about 87 miles from Beijing, China's capital, Baoding used to be farmland. But now renewable-energy companies have turned the city into a center for manufacturing solar panels and wind turbines. Renewable energy comes from resources that will not run out. The sun, the wind, and water currents are all sources of renewable energy.

More than 170 companies in Baoding build equipment to harness these resources. Companies there then sell this equipment all over the world. Two scientific labs in the city are also researching more-efficient ways to generate power.

All of these efforts are part of a national plan in China to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. These are fuels, such as coal and oil, that are burned to produce power. Unlike renewable energy sources, they create pollution.

China currently depends heavily on coal to provide energy for its massive population of 1.3 billion. But last year, China invested more money to develop clean-energy technology than any other country in the world. Chinese officials want 15 percent of the country's energy to come from renewable resources by 2020.

The government's efforts include a plan to educate citizens about how to live in a more environmentally friendly way. Lian Shujun, a city official, plans to start early. He told the Associated Press, "All citizens in Baoding will be taught about ‘green living,' starting with elementary school students."

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