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Wind turbines. Image courtesy of Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica.

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Wind Power & Renewables Surge To New Record In China

China has done it again! It has beat expectations on the amount of wind power added in 2020, with a staggering 72 gigawatts of wind power added last year.

China has done it again! It has beat expectations on the amount of wind power added in 2020, with a staggering 72 gigawatts of wind power added last year. 2020 wind power additions more than doubled the previous record set in 2019. Also, for further perspective, only 60 gigawatts (GW) of wind power was added globally in 2019. 

wind turbines

Image: Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica

It seems to be a consistent theme of China as it has begun to surprise the world with its renewable energy additions. Companies scrambled to meet deadlines for the sunsetting of wind subsidies. In addition to the 72 GW of wind power, China added 48 GW of solar power. That mark fell just short of the previous record for 53 GW. 

China also managed to add 13 GW of hydropower. All told in 2020, China added nearly 133 GW of renewable energy, which is 50 GW more than the previous record set in 2017.  

While it is unfortunate that subsidies are being reduced so soon, renewable energy is still on its way to dominating on an unsubsidized basis. 

China has promised to be carbon neutral by 2060. We have to hope this timeline can be accelerated. Even though 2060 is not soon enough, this timeline does send a clear signal to the markets that renewable energy is the way forward. Hopefully, improvements in technology, manufacturing, installation, etc will continue to rapidly drop the price of wind and solar. Many experts and CEOs are saying both wind and solar are heading close to zero cost long term.

Consequently, the cost of energy storage will become paramount. If you have been regularly reading CleanTechnica’s article you will know that EV growth is exploding in Europe with countries doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling their EV sales. This exploding demand for EVs will continue to lower the price of energy storage, and that is where the lion’s share of profit will be made in renewable energy.

For some further perspective about the importance of energy storage, Quantumscape is a new publicly traded battery company that is working on solid-state batteries. While the company has been vague on the details, it claims to have made a breakthrough and will begin production sometime in 2024. So why am I mentioning this company? While its stock has fallen recently, it surged above a market cap of $50 billion last month. For comparison, Ford Motor only has a market cap of $45 billion, so the market clearly believes renewable energy is the future.  

Hopefully, as China winds down subsidies for wind, it can begin to scale up its support for energy storage.

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I am a jock turned wannabe geek. I fell in love with science later in life thanks to the History Channel show the “Universe.” Having taught middle school science, I strongly feel Astronomy should be taught every year because nothing excites students more than learning about the cosmos. I became an avid cleantech fan because it gives me hope about the future. My wife, my dogs, and I live simply because we love to travel the world backpacker style.


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