China is clearly the largest investor in renewable energy sources worldwide, and is massively furthering their development. Numerous mega-projects are being conceived and launched in order to tackle the country‘s largest environmental problem: smog. The severe air pollution takes several hundred thousand human lives annually, and is the driving force behind the investments.
However, most of the country‘s electricity needs continue to be generated using fossil fuels. Above all, coal power plants are a defining characteristic of the skylines in the provinces of Shanxi and Hebei; they are generally considered the main contributors to air pollution.
At the same time, hitherto unparalleled renewable energy power plants are being built. At the edge of the Gobi Desert, the largest wind farm in the world was recently put into operation, and the highland plateau of Qinghai will soon be home to a solar power plant that could not be more futuristic. However, developing such remote places for this purpose is extremely dificult, as a large portion of the energy is already lost en route while being transported to the metropolitan areas.
These investments are also expected to have a positive secondary effect on the global climate. The constantly falling price of photovoltaic modules has caused their proliferation to skyrocket, potentially paving the way to a greener future.
Marcel Rickli (1986) is a Swiss photographer who lives in Zürich. His work is mostly dedicated to long term documentary projects in the field of resources and energy.