Renewable Energy Share In China’s Power Generation To Reach 20% By 2020

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A wind farm in Jingtai County, Gansu province, China
A wind farm in Jingtai County, Gansu province, China

China is set to achieve even greater accolades in renewable energy infrastructure expansion as it continues to add scores of gigawatts of wind, solar and hydro power capacity. Already a leader in almost all forms of renewable energy technologies, the Asian giant is likely to continue with its massive push to expand its renewable energy capacity base.

According to a report by research and consulting firm GlobalData, renewable energy sources in China are expected to provide 20% of the total electricity generated in the country in 2020. The Chinese government is expected to implement favorable policies and invest billions of dollars on the installation of renewable energy projects as it aims to meet its aggressive capacity addition targets, authors of the report stated.

The renewable energy capacity addition is largely driven by China’s high dependence on fossil fuels and it being the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. The Chinese government has announced several measures to reduce the country’s carbon footprint as it continues to push for economic growth for its increasing population.

China has announced carbon intensity and energy intensity reduction targets. These targets have in turn been distributed among the provinces. To achieve these targets, the provinces have announced and implemented unprecedented measures such as shutting down inefficient and polluting industries and power plants, putting caps on coal and energy consumption, and implementing emissions trading schemes for industrial sectors.

At the end of 2013, China had an installed wind energy capacity of 91.4 GW (92 GW if Taiwan is counted). In 2013, the annual capacity addition grew by 24% while the cumulative installed capacity grew by 21%. Thus, the country is well on track to achieve its target to have 100 GW of wind energy capacity by 2015.

The solar power capacity stood at 19.4 GW at the end of 2013 with almost 13 GW added in 2013 itself. With such an aggressive pace of capacity addition, China has been revising its solar power capacity addition targets regularly. The target now stands at having an installed solar power capacity base of 35 GW by 2015.

“China’s National Energy Administration planned investment of around $39.5 billion for the development of solar power between 2011 and 2015. The government instigated a number of major support measures, most notably the Golden Sun Program, the Building Integrated PV subsidy program, and FiTs for solar projects, such as the ‘One Million Rooftops Sunshine Plan’ in the Shandong province,” Harshavardhan Reddy Nagatham, one of the analysts at GlobalData said.

The Chinese government has announced attractive feed-in tariff schemes for solar as well as wind energy projects. Provincial governments have also implemented similar policies. Last month, China announced feed-in tariffs for offshore wind energy projects for the first time.

Image credit: Popolon | CC BY-SA 3.0

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Mridul Chadha

Mridul currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

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