China has set a goal of ensuring 33% of its power comes from renewable energy sources by 2025, the state planning agency said on Wednesday in a new “five-year plan”.
The standard is higher than the previous 28.8% set in 2020, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
China’s total renewable energy consumption is set to reach about 1 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent (TCE) by 2025.
China, the biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gases, has pledged to raise total wind and solar capacity to 1,200 gigawatts by 2030, almost double the current rate, with plans to build large-scale renewable energy bases in northwestern desert regions.
Climate groups were hoping that China would set a strict energy consumption target for 2025 as it prepares to bring total greenhouse gas emissions to a peak before 2030.
Though China has yet to announce a formal energy cap, the new non-fossil fuel energy consumption figure implies that total primary energy use could reach 5 billion tonnes of standard coal by 2025.
The NDRC said renewables would account for more than half of new energy consumption growth from 2021-2025 period, but China still has leeway to build more fossil fuel-fired power plants over the period as it focuses on improving energy security.
China is aiming to start cutting coal consumption in 2026, but in the meantime could put as much as 150 gigawatts of new coal capacity into operation by then, according to research from the State Grid.
China National Nuclear Power’s first-quarter power generation increased by 15.5% from the same period last year, with renewables growth outpacing its dominant nuclear arm.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell