The shift towards renewable energy sources is gaining momentum around the world as countries pledge to reduce their carbon emissions and tackle climate change. China, the world’s largest polluter, has been expanding its renewable energy capacity at an unprecedented pace in recent years. In a new report released by the China Electricity Council, it has been revealed that China’s solar power capacity has now reached twice the capacity of its coal-fired power plants. This blog post delves deeper into the report’s findings and examines the significance of this milestone.
Solar power in China has grown at an unprecedented pace, with a year-on-year growth rate of 33.7%. According to the “Operational Situation of the Electric Power Industry” report, China’s installed power generation capacity as of March 2021 was 2.62 billion kilowatts, showing a year-on-year increase of 9.1%. This growth wasn’t limited to renewables, as fossil fuels and renewable energy saw year-on-year installed capacity increases. Non-fossil-fuel energy power generation saw a year-on-year increase of 15.9%, accounting for 50.5% of the total installed capacity.
Renewable energy has come a long way in China, with the nation’s 2021 energy targets set at 1.2 million GW of solar power, 1.8 million GW of wind power, and 900 GW of hydropower. It is worth noting that China’s hydropower capacity makes up the most significant proportion of the non-fossil-fuel energy power generation installed capacity. It is estimated that China’s total installed solar capacity will likely increase to 400GW by 2030, which is more than double the total solar capacity of the US.
This milestone marks a significant achievement for China, who remains the largest producer and consumer of coal in the world. The country’s coal industry remains significant, despite the growth of renewable energy. However, the report indicates that the proportion of non-fossil-fuel energy in China’s total installed capacity has increased by 3 percentage points year-on-year, which is a positive sign.
Solar power has several advantages over traditional energy sources. For starters, it is a renewable energy source and does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global climate change. Secondly, solar panels are relatively easy to install and require minimal maintenance, making them suitable for remote areas. Finally, solar power can generate electricity locally without the need for long-distance transmission lines, making it ideal for off-grid regions.
China’s move to renewable energy is a welcome development as it continues to increase its solar capacity while reducing its reliance on coal-fired power plants. Solar power’s growth rate in China is unparalleled, and the report’s findings indicate this and the country’s progress towards its 2021 energy targets. The shift towards renewable energy can be seen as a significant milestone in the global fight against climate change. However, China’s transition to renewables is not without its challenges. The continued growth of the fossil fuel industry reveals that there is still work to be done to meet the emissions reduction targets required to prevent catastrophic global warming. Nevertheless, China’s solar capacity now surpasses its coal power capacity, providing a glimmer of hope for the future.