Sunday, February 25, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Slavery Poisons Solar Industry’s Supply Chains
By Heritage Foundation @ 4:11 PM :: 1533 Views :: Energy, Ethics

Slavery Poisons Solar Industry’s Supply Chains

by Miles Pollard, Policy Analyst, Heritage Foundation Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment, Oct 13, 2023

Behind those harmless-looking solar panels harnessing the sun’s power lies a disturbing secret: Roughly 80% of solar components are manufactured in China using slave labor. Not only have the buyers of solar panels been indirectly funding companies that use slave labor, but American taxpayers have also subsidized almost $37 billion in purchases between 2016 and 2022.

Globally, even international organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union have begun to voice concerns about forced labor being used in China. The U.S. Department of Labor has created a 116-page report on goods that have been tainted with forced labor, and the State Department has created reports specifically about the use of forced labor in renewable energy supply chains.

Our current path presents an ethical conflict, pitting the climate lobby’s objectives against our nation’s moral compass. CSIS, a nonpartisan think tank, estimates that more than 1 million minorities, chiefly the Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Kirgizs, have been subjected to mass detention, pervasive surveillance and forced labor — a brutal reality that starkly contrasts with the shiny promise of clean energy.

In its bid to dominate solar panel production, China has forced these “surplus workers” to toil in state-subsidized, coal-fired power plants and four of the five largest polysilicon factories. Using this exploitative labor system and utilizing coal power plants, its share of global polysilicon production surged from 26% in 2010 to 82% in 2020, while America’s share declined from 35% to 5% over the same period.

Today China manufactures 79% of polysilicon, 97% of wafers, 75% of modules and 85% of solar cells using slave labor.

While America debates what to do about this humanitarian crisis, a study from the Environmental Protection Agency calculated that the cost of solar photovoltaic, or PV, units would surge by 30% to 40% without components sourced from labor in China, underscoring the industry’s reliance on Xinjiang’s slave labor force.

Furthermore, the International Energy Agency has estimated that to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, global polysilicon production must triple by 2030.

This can only encourage China to draft more of the 12 million ethnic minority citizens in Xinjiang into these factories to meet the growing demand.

Amid this ethical conundrum, the United States has taken a firm stand against imports potentially linked to forced labor. The bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act presumes any goods originating from Xinjiang are products of forced labor unless proved otherwise. The onus, therefore, lies with U.S. companies to provide clear and convincing evidence that their imports from Xinjiang were not produced using forced labor.

To help businesses comply with the law, the Forced Labor Prevention Act has created an entity list of solar panel component companies that have been caught using slave labor. China has also been caught using slave labor in chemical and textile companies in Xinjiang, which have been added to the list this year.

The Solar Energy Industries Association, an American association of more than 1,000 companies, has pledged to oppose this use of slave labor in the industry and verify the authenticity of the solar components.

But according to the Breakthrough Institute, the association’s “traceability protocol only covers the commodity chain between metallurgical-grade silicon and completed solar PV modules” and neglects to follow the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’s guidelines to include the supply chains of quartz, aluminum and solar PV cover glass. Therefore, buyers cannot rely on the association’s certification alone.

In response to the ban on exports from Xinjiang, Chinese shadow media have manufactured protests in the U.S. on various social issues, according to the cybersecurity firm Mandiant. Chinese companies have also engaged in “transshipping” by setting up shell companies in Southeast Asian ports to have their solar components falsify their country of origin and bypass U.S. sanctions.

In August, the Commerce Department’s investigation found that Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam were harboring these suspected companies and listed the offending companies on its website. 

President Biden, however, has blocked and vetoed both the Commerce Department’s and Congress’ attempts to prevent companies like BYD, Trina Solar, Vina Solar and Canadian Solar from “transshipping” the solar components through these countries. Collectively, these four countries account for 80% of U.S. panel supplies.

The policy is clear. There should be no opportunity for Chinese goods made with slave labor to enter American markets. China has been dominating the solar market by outcompeting western companies by using state-sponsored slave labor and state-subsidized coal power. Even worse, U.S. taxpayers have paid almost $37 billion to subsidize purchases of these solar panels.

Though Americans are indirectly complicit in allowing these goods to be purchased, our president is giving illegal shell companies smuggling these goods a pass because, he says, “We cannot afford to create new uncertainty for American businesses.”

Perhaps we should give these companies the certainty that the goods they sell are not being made by slaves.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT