Coal, by Flicker user oatsy40 (Used Under CC License)Enlarge Photo
Over the past few years, China has made impressive strides in renewable-energy investment.
The promotion of renewable energy will only become more important as China works to meet its commitments under the recently-ratified Paris climate agreement.
But the country's reliance on coal for electricity generation still poses a huge problem for these clean-energy efforts.
Coal demand in China—as well as other Asian nations—will likely rise over the next few years even as these nations seek to limit carbon emissions, according to Bloomberg.
On the other hand, clean-energy investment will decrease 15 to 20 percent this year, Michael Liebreich—founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance—said in a conference in Shanghai last week.
It's worth noting that a major reason for this drop in investment is that the cost of equipment used to generate electricity from wind and solar power is also falling.
Photovoltaic solar power field at Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, TennesseeEnlarge Photo
A previous Bloomberg report predicted that installation of new solar and wind farms would drop 11 percent in 2017, which mark the first recorded decline in the history of the modern renewable-energy business.
Bloomberg notes that a common refrain is that China builds two coal power plants a week.
It says that practice will likely continue, although it may drop to one plant a week within the next five years.
wind farmEnlarge Photo
Japan typically imports most of its fossil fuels at high prices, and new nuclear power plants have been a non-starter since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is promoting hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative power source, presumably in concert with renewable energy to help create the necessary hydrogen.
He envisions a "hydrogen society" in which fuel cells power not only vehicles, but also buildings and infrastructure.