New official stats from China show that renewable energy capacity is growing faster than coal now.
By the end of 2010, hydro, nuclear and wind power should account for 26% of the country’s electricity generation, providing about 250 GW of capacity. “Thermal power”, largely coal-fired power stations, accounts for about 700 GW of capacity. However, 96 GW of the China’s 178 GW of new power capacity will be from renewables in 2010, compared to 80 GW from thermal power. So, the tide may be changing.
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Examing where the changes are occurring, Tom Young of Business Green reports:
“Two of the five major players in the energy market are leading the way. China Power Investment Corp reportedly increased its clean electricity output to 30 per cent of its total in 2009, while Huaneng has also raised its installed capacity of clean energy to account for 15 per cent of all the power it produces.
Officials also announced today that the installed capacity of wind power in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region grew over 40 times to 7.3GW by the end of March from 170MW in 2005.
The region has the most abundant wind resources in China, but to date development has been hindered by poor grid connections in the remote area. However, now 20 per cent of power in the area is generated by wind – a level comparable to renewable energy leaders such as Norway and Denmark.”
China is clearly taking its commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions seriously, as if its hundreds of billions dollars of investment in the world’s largest clean energy projects didn’t already tell you that.
Comparing the current energy split in the US with China’s, data from the EIA shows that the US currently gets about 31% of its electricity from hydro, nuclear and renewable energy and 45% from coal. The two countries are in a similar situation. Hopefully, despite using different methods, both countries can cut that coal percentage down drastically in the years to come.
Image Credit: DonDomingo via flickr under a CC license