Sharon Burke, senior adviser at New America and former assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs, discusses energy competition between the U.S. and China, and why renewable energy has economic benefits beyond helping the planet.
A major element of the National Security Strategy is the United States’ competition with Russia and China. The other global powers are working on leveraging their natural resources, and China in particular is looking to expand their energy supply chain. Sharon Burke, senior adviser at New America and former assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs, says that China needs a lot of power to maintain their growth as the world’s second-largest economy, and the nation’s investments in renewable energy have benefits beyond reducing pollution. “They see it as a matter of their own security and their economic security, and it is very much so. They are a tremendous investor in renewable energy. Maybe that’s all for the right reasons, to make the planet green. That’s all great. But it’s also a smart national security investment, because renewable energy is inherently your own energy in your own territory.” Burke said. “They have huge hydro power investments, they’re the world’s largest solar producer, big wind power investments. They are also looking at how to make electrification more efficient and effective. You always have to balance it and keep in mind that they are the world’s largest consumer of coal.”