Here are the top environmental links folks are Digging today:

• TG Daily: "China: New $659 million wind farm will pay for itself in 2 years"

— In the latest sign of China's growing interest in renewable energy, the country's National Energy Administration has approved a plan for a 400-megawatt wind farm. Although several commenters on TG Daily are skeptical of the author's claim that the farm will be profitable in two years, the relatively low maintenance costs of wind turbines do suggest it'll pay for itself within at least five.

USA Today: "Times Square bash left about 40 tons of trash"

— High winds in New York City blew around confetti, noisemakers and other garbage thrown out by an estimated 1 million revelers in Times Square on New Year's Eve.

• Flickr [photo]: "A pilot's view of Mount Baker in Washington, USA"

— A pilot catches a mountain's snow-capped peaks jutting above a billowy cloudscape.

• TriplePundit: "6 Factors Shaping the Renewable Energy Industry in 2008"

— 2009 is expected to be a banner year for renewable energy projects, despite the economic downturn and low fossil-fuel prices. Green-business blog TriplePundit lays out a list of the top factors that will dictate what happens in the young industry this year.

• EcoGeek: "Chinese Planning World's Largest Solar Project"

— China is like Texas in at least two ways: It's increasingly experimenting with renewable energy, and everything's bigger there. On top of the ambitious wind farm mentioned above, the Chinese are also planning the world's largest solar-power plant, to be built in the sun-baked Qaidam Basin. It would start off generating 30 megawatts and aims to eventually reach a full gigawatt (1,000 megawatts). This still pales in comparison to China's army of coal-powered plants, however, which generated about 90 gigawatts in 2006.

Russell McLendon

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