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Friday, October 27, 2006

Clean Green Chinese Millionaires

Worldwatch reports that a numner of chinese energy players are now turing clean and green as a way to wealth. From the article
The Hurun Report, a luxury business magazine known for its annual surveys of China’s wealthiest citizens, recently released its 2006 China Energy Rich List, which ranks the wealth generated from the nation’s booming energy sector. Shi Zhengrong, a solar energy tycoon, tops the list with a personal wealth of US$1.95 billion, followed by Jia Tingliang and Wang Suolan with the coal company Shanxi Datuhe Coke & Chemicals, with US$525 million.

While entrepreneurs from traditional energy industries such as coal mining, oil and gas distribution, and power generation still dominate the energy “rich list” (occupying more than half of the fifty spots), the share of wealthy Chinese representing the “clean energy” sector—which includes solar and wind power, batteries, bioenergy, incineration power generation, and thermal energy—has increased to 14, up from only 4 last year. Rupert Hoogewerf, CEO of the Hurun Report, concedes that “valuing the wealth of China’s Rich is as much an art as it is a science,” but believes the list offers a useful glimpse into the dynamics of China’s energy market and illustrates how private companies struggle to share the energy pie with their state-owned counterparts.

According to Shanghai Security Daily, the 2006 list reflects two main trends: the ongoing restructuring of China’s traditional coal mining industry, and the rapid entry of private companies into the clean energy field. The coal industry restructuring, which is being overseen by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), is intended to accelerate technological modernization and improve the industry’s ability to meet projected growth in demand—as well as protect the environment and improve industrial safety, according to Xinhua News. Under new policies, several large private coal companies have been able to merge, renovate, and regroup smaller mines, enter the overseas market with their competitive costs, and switch to deep coal refining. These activities have contributed to the emergence of several new tycoons.

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