With the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics less than a month away and preparation for the Games having entered their final stage, the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee has emphasised the event’s green credentials.
Chinese authorities have pledged to power the Games using only wind, hydro and solar energy, despite the wider economy relying on coal for nearly two-thirds of its power.
The city of Zhangjiakou, one of the three Olympic hubs, has installed wind farms spanning hundreds of acres that can produce 14 million kilowatts of electricity and also covered mountain-sides with solar panels that they say will generate another seven million kilowatts.
While not independently verifiable, the Organising Committee told new agency AFP that China built a "dedicated power plant that takes on power generated from renewable sources, stores it and transmits it to all venues."
Another initiative will see 655 hydrogen-powered buses be used to transport athletes and officials during the Winter Games, as advised by the Xinhua news agency. Organisers said 85% of vehicles used for the Games will run on either electricity or hydrogen.
With that only domestic spectators allowed to attend due to the pandemic - and even those numbers look likely to be very limited - flight emissions are likely to be lower than the average Olympics.
However, snow making in the mountains of Zhangjiakou and Yanqing, north of Beijing, where skiing and snowboarding events will be held will completely rely on man-made snow.
According to a 2019 blueprint by the country's national economic planner, around 220 million litres of water will be needed for this process.
Water will come from reservoirs in Zhanjiakou, and will "account for less than one percent of the water supply of the city," a member of the organising committee told the state-run Global Times newspaper.
During a visit to Beijing’s National Speed Skating Oval (known locally as the ‘Ice Ribbon’) this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping inspected technology in the venue.
One of 12 competition venues and the only one built exclusively for ice competition, the site uses carbon dioxide trans-critical direct ice-making technology, delivering almost zero carbon emissions.
The system’s waste heat in refrigeration can be further recycled, raising the energy efficiency by up to 40%.
President Xi’s visit to the Ice Ribbon was his fifth inspection visit to Winter Olympic sites.
North Korea will not compete
North Korean authorities have today advised that it will not be sending athletes to the Games.
It advised that it will miss the Beijing Winter Olympics because of the COVID-19 pandemic and "hostile forces' moves”.
In September, the International Olympic Committee suspended North Korea for refusing to send a team to the Tokyo Summer Games.
Images: Interior of Beijing’s National Speed Skating Oval (top, credit: Xinhua) and Beijing Winter Olympics mascot, Shuey Rhon Rhon (below).
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