China seeks to host the greenest Winter Olympics in 2022
Hosting an event such as the Olympics is no small feat. China is no stranger to becoming the centre of attention in this regard, as all eyes turn to the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The Olympics are an opportunity for nations to come together in one place, to compete in a season of events with some of the largest television audiences on the planet. The 32nd Olympiad in Tokyo was delayed until this year, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2022 Winter Olympics show little signs of being put on ice however. Expected to be held in Beijing and other neighbouring towns in the Heibei province, the 24th Winter Olympics give China a fresh opportunity to show how to power the games with minimal impact on the environment.
Leaving emissions out in the cold
China has announced the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics will be powered entirely by renewable power, across 26 venues, between 4th and 20th February 2022. Ahead of the games, a number of energy providers got to work, building extensive renewables infrastructure, in an attempt to paint a picture of a greener experience for all.
This isn’t the first time a host country has striven to limit the impact of the Winter Olympics. Russia hosted the 2014 Games in Sochi, a Black Sea resort, and successfully mitigated 520,000 metric tonnes of CO2 before the Opening Ceremony, through a Sustainable Future programme.
The amount is equal to one month’s consumption by 500 three-member households, but all the electricity will come from clean and renewable energy– Xu Yan, Shougang venue construction manager speaking to XINHUANET
The Shougang Ski Jumping Platform, which is expected to be a major centrepiece for Beijing 2022, is expected to consume 100,000kWh of electricity for the duration of the games, reflecting the sheer volume of power required for one venue. However, the Zhangbei Renewable Energy Flexible DC Grid Pilot and Demonstration Project is expected to result in the creation of a grid which can stream power generated from wind and solar power directly into Beijing at a rate of 22.5 billion kHw per year over the coming years.
The Winter Olympics come to town
China, a country with a population ten times the size of Russia, has greater pressure placed upon it to change its ways. With the country expected to become the world’s largest economy sometime in the next decade, China seems to have a long way to go, in order to clean up its act.
In 2020, China produced 13.49 Gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent, with Climate Action Tracker seeing no sign of a peak in greenhouse gas emissions until 2030 at the earliest. However, the aforementioned DC grid which will power the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics could help push China on the right path, so long as they continue to invest in greener energy supply grids.
We will only know the full impact of the 2022 Beijing games over the coming years – could the games be a flash in a pan, a fortnight of much heat and light, but little substance? Or will the games reinforce a greener way of approaching energy requirements, to help push one of the world’s leading economies towards a low carbon future?