While I was at the climate negotiations in Tianjin, China I had the chance to take a side trip to see clean energy development in action. A group of us went to the Coda-Lishen battery plant. After days of climate negotiations where countries talked about efforts to deploy clean energy and reduce global warming pollution, it was refreshing to see clean energy being developed in practice.
We had the pleasure of having a presentation by a senior member of the Coda team and then took a tour of the facility.
This plant is a joint partnership between two companies -- Coda Automotive and Lishen Power Battery. Coda Automotive is a Santa Monica, California based car company and Lishen Power Battery is a Tianjin, China based battery manufacturer. This joint effort is aimed at developing a Coda electric vehicle and then over time developing batteries for use in electricity generation (i.e., to provide energy storage for wind and solar energy generation). The car is expected to be on the market next year in the U.S., to be initially sold in California.
Clean energy is real and China is building the infrastructure to be able to tap into it. Although we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the plant and the actual process to manufacture the batteries, I can attest that it was real (I was allowed to take a picture of the plant). We saw first-hand as they made the batteries, combined individual batteries into a “pack” of batteries to power an electric car, and put the finishing touches so the battery could be installed in an electric vehicle.
NRDC released a series of reports in Tianjin on the clean energy actions that China is taking (see here for more details) which documents some of the actions that China is taking. And the Coda-Lishen plant is a visible example of how China is building the infrastructure for the clean energy future. And I can attest that it is located in China (see pictures).
Clean energy jobs are real. The Coda-Lishen plant has real people, producing real clean energy…a clean energy job. While these jobs were in China, Coda is planning to build a plant in Ohio which is expected to produce lithium-ion batteries for applications in the US.
So while the climate negotiators talk about clean energy and the US continues to debate how to move forward, one plant in China is moving forward with building the clean energy future. What a refreshing reality.
I only hope that clean energy plants like the one I saw in China will blossom everywhere so that the world can address global warming.