China is boosting its wind and solar energy efforts to speed up the construction of clean energy projects

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June 8, 2022

BEIJING – Nation to accelerate construction of clean energy projects in planned areas

China vows to accelerate construction of the second batch of massive wind and solar power projects in the Gobi Desert and other arid regions, according to a package of policies aimed at stabilizing the economy recently announced by the State Council.

The second phase of wind and solar power projects will continue to focus on the Gobi and other sandy and rocky regions and is expected to attract investments of up to 3 trillion yuan ($450.9 billion) in related industries, it said.

The move comes amid the country’s recent efforts to speed up the planning and construction of large-scale wind and solar projects.

China launched its first phase with a total capacity of 100 gigawatts of wind and solar power in the desert areas by the end of 2021, covering 19 provinces nationwide, as the country pushed ahead with adjusting its industrial and energy structures.

According to a statement released jointly by the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic regulator, and the National Energy Administration in late May, the country will increase its total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1.2 billion kilowatts by 2030 while up to 50 percent of the country’s buildings to be covered with solar panels on the roof.

In recent years, as China sees a steady increase in the share of solar and wind energy and its cost gradually falling, there is a need to further develop the solar and wind power assets and ensure that the two sectors play a key role in ensuring the country’s energy security, to accelerate the building of a clean, low-carbon and efficient energy system.

Total renewable energy consumption will reach 1 billion tons of standard coal by 2025, according to the country’s renewable energy development plan for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), while the scale of non-electric use including geothermal heating and biomass heating and fuel, and solar thermal use will also reach 60 million tons of standard coal.

An analyst said China’s plan to further optimize its energy mix by building massive wind and solar farms in the Gobi and other desert areas of the country will support the country’s goal of reaching more than 1,200 GW of installed solar and wind capacity by 2030.

Wei Hanyang, an energy market analyst at research firm BloombergNEF, said renewable energy projects are usually capital-intensive, and the GW-level bases being built on vast deserts would require multiple funding channels and political support, making China excellent.

“It is also likely that large state-owned companies will reallocate some of the funds from previous coal projects to the renewable bases so the process can be accelerated,” Wei said.

“As more batches of GW-level bases are to be built in the future, China needs to encourage more social participation and set up a proper compensation mechanism. For example, the level of electricity market contracts needs to be more appropriate for investors to estimate their accurate cash flows.”

“There is also a need to design and build more ultra-high-voltage transmission lines to connect renewable energy to coastal demand centers, which is expected to reach 300 GW transmission capacity by 2025, compared to around 200 GW last year.” , added Wei.

According to a statement released Wednesday by the NDRC, China will generate 3.3 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity from renewable sources by 2025 as part of its plan to further advance its green energy transition during the 14th Five-Year Plan.

The increase in renewable energy generation will also exceed 50 percent during this period, while electricity generation from wind and solar power will also double, it said.

Non-fossil energy consumption will account for about 25 percent of total consumption by 2030, and renewable energy will continue to replace fossil fuels to help build a low-carbon energy system in the country, it said.

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