Clean Power China Continues to Increase Installed Renewable Capacity

Published on January 7th, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill


China’s Strong Renewable Energy Growth Continues

January 7th, 2013 by  

In good news for planet Earth, and news that should conversely kick us Western nations up the proverbial, China has again stretched its renewable energy installed capacity, increasing its wind energy capacity up to 56,000 megawatts at the end of October 2012, and increasing its hydro power capacity to 206,000 megawatts.

China Continues to Increase Installed Renewable Capacity

Tangshanpeng Wind Farm (Image Source: Land Rover Our Planet on Flickr)

China’s renewable energy capacity installation growth has been impressive, and even more so when you consider that its growth has been higher than the global average.

The global average growth of wind energy capacity over the past decade was only 25% while China’s wind energy capacity rose at an annual average growth of 60%.

When it comes to solar, the average global growth was 44%, while China managed 50% over the same time period.

It’s good news to see China reaching and beating goals it has set for itself, especially in light of its recently introduced 12th Five-Year Plan, in which China has set a target of increasing its total renewable energy consumption to 478 million tonnes of coal equivalent. This would represent approximately 9.5% of the overall energy consumption in the country by 2015.

More Articles on China’s Renewables and its Five-Year Plan:

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

  • Irisyak

    China make today what I have told for fighting climate change.
    If all the counties grow the production of new energies of 3% each year, we do not need anything else.
    3% are calculated on the total of energies consumed.
    I write that every day in my blog:

    • Bob_Wallace

      I really doubt 3% per year gets us there fast enough. It certainly wouldn’t in the US.

      We get about 36% of our electricity from coal and another 30% or so from natural gas. With a 3% switch from fossil fuel to renewables per year it would take between 20 and 30 years to get coal and gas off our grids. Then there’s the almost 100% fossil fuel input for transportation.

      If your math differs I’d like to see it.

  • James Wimberley

    It’s not over yet for coal in China by any means. The hopeful sign is not so much the current Chinese numbers for renewables, impressive though they are, but that targets keep being revised upwards – unlike those for nuclear. The Chinese leadership is clearly increasingly convinced that wind and solar are cost-effective and can be rolled out on an enormous scale. Coal has to be mined, dangerously, and transported to power stations by rail. Its economics will get worse, as miners’ wages rise and rail hits bottlenecks, while those of wind and solar continue to improve. That’s not counting the politically damaging local air pollution, and the climate science which China’s technically leaders are not likely to deny. Will the next increase in solar targets be accompanied by a reduction in those for coal?

    • Good points and questions. Those are the keys in my mind.

    • Bob_Wallace

      China’s coal mines are not close to where China needs electricity, as you point out.

      That puts China in the position of either having to import oil to power their coal trains or to import coal. Neither are desirable. Both make coal-electricity more expensive and increases the competitiveness of wind and solar.

      China has announced that they will cap the annual amount of coal that can be burned. That is forcing those who need new electricity sources to look elsewhere.

      I wouldn’t expect China’s use of coal to drop during the next few years. China has to get enough production on line before it can start cutting back on existing production. I see a coal plateau for a few years following 2015 and then a drop once storage technologies have been developed to make wind and solar 24/365.

  • MieScatter

    Hi Joshua,

    Please check your Mega and Giga. The numbers you gave are a thousand times too small!

    • That’s right. Probably should be Gigawatts…


  • Too bad they are still building a coal plant each week….;


    • Ross Chandler

      Pity you are still repeating the same falsehoods.

      • MrEnergyCzar

        I was being generous, they’re still building one coal plant or more per week plus India is on a similar path…


    • Bob_Wallace

      “Take China, which now has at least 363 large plants in the pipeline. The country has likely passed its peak in terms of coal expansion, says Yang; it’s no longer building two new plants a week the way it was back in the early 2000s. And some analysts have suggested that China’s gargantuan coal appetite could wane in the years ahead, as economic growth slows and pollution concerns become more pressing. So it’s quite possible that a big portion of those 363 proposed plants won’t ever get built.”

      “China will cap coal domestic production and consumption at 3.9 billion tons by 2015 in a bid to reduce pollution and curb coal consumption, according to a five-year industry plan released on Thursday, Bloomberg reported. China produced about 3.8 billion tons in 2011, said Helen Lau, a Hong-Kong-based analyst at UOB-Kay Hian Ltd. David Fang, director of the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association, said that coal demand and output growth would definitely slow because of environmental concerns, but that the new targets would be difficult to meet. If China’s economy continues to grow at 7% from 2011 to 2015, its annual coal demand will expand by at least the same rate in that period, Fang said. The government is targeting a reduction in carbon emissions of as much as 17% per unit of GDP by 2015.”

      • So one plant a week is actually probably too low but I was being generous… we’ll call it 100 new plants the next 2 years.


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