Baoding is an ancient city, but its outskirts have an unsettled feel. Between serried ranks of high-rise apartment blocks and shiny new factories turning out wind turbines and solar-powered traffic lights, fields of corn and sunflowers still grow.
They will soon be memories, though, and memories are short when you are moving fast. “Ideal City – Since 2008,” boasts a billboard for a new residential complex.
Seeking a new development path for his city after the slaughter of its fish, Yu traveled to Spain and Germany, leaders in the renewable energy field. That trip convinced him that “renewables are the trend of the future,” he recalls. But “the biggest lesson I learned was that the new energy industry … has a very high potential for growth and for profit.”
He had a hard time persuading his superiors in the provincial and central governments of that, though. “People thought I was impractical … that renewable energy was 30 or 40 years away … that I was just playing with ideas,” Yu says. “Some of my policies met great resistance.”