China’s new renewable energy plans will see it focus on the Gobi and other desert regions, as it accelerates the construction of huge new wind and solar power bases and boosts its transmission capabilities, regulators revealed in a new policy document.
To meet its climate targets, China – the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter – is drawing up policies that will allow the “green and low-carbon transformation” of its energy system, which has traditionally been dominated by coal.
Beijing aims to bring total wind and solar capacity up to 1,200 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2030, almost double the current level, and will gradually phase down fossil fuel use in a bid to become carbon neutral by around 2060.
But the National Energy Administration (NEA) said in guidelines published late on Thursday that new policies and institutional mechanisms were required in order for China to take full advantage of green energy.
It said by 2030, China would create a system allowing all new energy demand to be met by non-fossil fuel sources, as NEA plans to diversify the financing channels for renewables and improve incentives and market mechanisms, including a “green product certification” system encouraging consumers.
Apart from these desert projects, it will also work to improve rural grid transmission and allow village collectives to invest in renewable power and share the profits.
Though it wants renewables to meet the bulk of new energy demand, China still expects coal consumption to rise until at least 2025. Researchers with the State Grid Corporation forecast that another 150 GW of coal-fired power could be built over 2021-2025.
The new guidelines said China would make “clean coal” consumption a priority and further eliminate small and inefficient mines, power plants and heating systems, while providing more support for carbon capture and storage at thermal plants.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara