China’s Wind & Solar Industry Could Replace 300 Million Tonnes Of Coal Per Year By 2030

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A new report published this week has shown that China’s wind and solar PV industries could grow to such a point that they are able to replace fossil fuel energy sources by up to 300 million tonnes of standard coal per year by 2030, clearly demonstrating and confirming China’s rapid transition to a clean energy economy.

Published by Greenpeace East Asia, the new report — Accelerating the Energy Transition: the co-benefits of wind and solar PV power in China — projects the impact of China’s wind and solar PV industry between 2015 and 2030, based on the current state of the country’s renewable energy industry, available technologies, government policies, and the continuing decrease in the cost of energy generation sources.

The report found that, by 2030, wind and solar energy could save 3.6 billion cubic meters of water per year — equivalent to the annual basic needs of 200 million people. Given the growing concern for water resources, this is one of the important co-benefits that sometimes get overlooked when we look at the benefits of renewable energy sources over fossil fuel sources.

Between 2015 and 2030, the report found that China’s wind and solar industries are expected to expand fivefold, and by 2030 are estimated to be worth RMB 1.57 trillion and to comprise 1.1% of the national GDP. Further, in 2030 alone, Greenpeace East Asia predicts that the wind and solar industries will accrue RMB 456 billion in external environmental benefits.

“The potential benefits of wind and solar energy in China are staggering,” said Yuan Ying, Greenpeace East Asia climate and energy campaigner.

“Not only could China rid itself of fossil energy sources to the tune of 300 million tonnes of standard coal, it could also save enough water to meet the annual basic needs of 200 million people and add billions of dollars to the national economy.”

“The facts speak for themselves. China must now make sure nothing stands in the way of realising this potential.”

Co-benefits are some of the most important aspects to begin focusing on, now that renewable energy technologies such as onshore wind and solar PV have proven themselves both economically viable, but highly effective. Creating a scenario in which renewable energy is the undisputed next step will require building a case showing the co-benefits that come from switching. The Greenpeace report, using scenario analysis and quantitative and qualitative analyses to calculate the co-benefits of wind and solar PV, found that when compared to coal-fired power, the external environmental benefits of China’s wind and solar PV amounted to around  0.16 RMB/kWh in 2015. By 2030, this figure is expected to reach 0.3 RMB/kWh.

“Only when we have a thorough understanding of the social and economic benefits wind and solar power can provide, can we really push forward with the energy transition and rid China of its reliance on fossil fuels,” explained former director of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, Li Junfeng.

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Joshua S Hill

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.

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