China will accelerate the utilization of renewable energy during the 14th Five-Year plan over 2021-2025, and by 2025 over half of the country’s installed electricity generating capacity will be fuelled by renewable energy, officials from China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announced at a press conference in Beijing on March 30.
By 2025, renewable energy will be the key contributor to growth of China’s electricity consumption, and two thirds of the growth will be supplied by renewable energy, said Li Chuangjun, director of NEA’s department of new and renewable energy.
By the end of last year, about 930 million kW of installed power generating capacity was fuelled by renewable energy including hydro, wind, solar and biomass, accounting for 42.4% of China’s total, or a notable 14.6 percentage points higher than in 2012. Capacity in all four sectors was the largest worldwide, Zhang Jianhua, director of NEA, noted at the conference.
Electricity generation from these facilities reached 2.2 trillion kWh last year, accounting for 29.5% of China’s total consumption and higher by 9.5 percentage points from 2012, Zhang added. Also during 2020, China’s coal-fuelled power generating capacity dropped to 49.1% of total, marking the first time that coal’s contribution had fallen below 50% in China’s history, as reported.
Table: China’s power generation capacity fuelled by renewable energy
China’s increased utilization of renewable energy has significantly reduced pollution and carbon emissions too. In 2020, the utilization was equivalent to 680 million tonnes of 7,000 kcal/kg standard coal. To obtain the same amount of energy by burning coal, China would have consumed nearly one billion tonnes of coal, and emitted 1.79 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, 864,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide and 798,000 tonnes of nitric oxide, according to Zhang.
The 14th Five-Year Plan will be a key period on China’s march to reach the target of peak carbon emissions by 2030, Zhang commented. Earlier, China had pledged to increase the percentage of non-fossil energy in all the primary energy (unprocessed or unconverted energy) the country consumes to 25%, and the installed capacity for wind and solar power generation will exceed 1.2 billion kW in 2030, he observed.
By 2020, non-fossil energy satisfied 15.9% of China’s total primary energy demand, according to official data.