Clean Power

Published on July 7th, 2014 | by Mridul Chadha


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

July 7th, 2014 by  

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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About the Author

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.

  • Matt

    Been in China the last two week, air is like smoking all day long. I was glad to see lots of EV mopeds. There is a lot of news in the China press about efficiency. With my new smokers cough, it is clear they will need to move fast. A part of that is address no just the power plants but all the other coal burners.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Lots of good stuff in this article.

      “Today, there are approximately 600,000 industrial boilers in China that still use coal-fired boilers and direct coal firing for heating; most of these are in residential areas in urban centers in north China. Taking Beijing as an example, there are still 44,000 households with coal stoves in the western district within 2nd Ring Road; the impact of urban environmental pollution caused from these coal stoves is direct and severe.”

      “the coal use for power plants in is only 4.13% of the total coal use city-wide. The annual PM10 emissions from coal-fired power plants (including PM2.5 emissions) amount to only 0.005% of total PM10 discharged in the area.”

      “emissions to the air and hazards to human health from the pollutants emitted from running vehicles on city roads are most certainly orders of magnitude higher than the equal quantity of pollutants produced from thermal power plants distant from the city”
      And this applies to only air pollution. China’s coal-fired electricity plants are producing CO2. That is a separate issue.

  • JamesWimberley

    The critical decision before China’s leaders is whether to commit to an absolute cap on coal, in turn allowing a cap on carbon emissions. There is clearly a faction pushing for this, but it hasn’t won yet.

    My pennyworth is that at the next big UN global junket on climate change in Paris in 2015, forget about a super-complex cap-and-trade scheme, and just go for a one-paragraph treaty: no new coal power stations. You can sugar his by adding “without CCS”, or a 10% admixture of unicorn dung, which comes to the same thing. 100 countries can sign this immediately, isolating China, India and Poland. The US could and should sign it, though the GOP would go ballistic.

    • LookingForward

      I think they should make it “no new fossil fuel power stations”.
      Canada and Scandinavia is building solar for cryin out loud, if they can, everyone can. Hydro, wind, geothermal, tidal, wave, even nuclear, waste, biogas and biofuel, there are enough options that are all better then coal and gas.

  • Offgridmanpolktn

    Let’s hope that obstructionist US politicians see this and realize that if China gets away from having to purchase fossil fuels for power production before the US does, then the so called economic disadvantage for American businesses will really happen.

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