Clean energy efforts to get fresh impetus
Renewables to drive carbon neutrality goals, cut use of fossil fuels in nation
China will step up efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 with more active new energy development goals and promote the largescale, high-quality and marketized development of clean energy, a top National Energy Administration official said on Tuesday.
The government will accelerate the replacement of fossil fuels with renewables and increase their consumption and storage capacity as part of the shift to a new power system with clean energy as the central focus, Zhang Jianhua, head of the NEA, said during a news briefing in Beijing on Tuesday.
Renewable energy will become the mainstay for an increase in energy and electricity consumption, rather than the incremental complementary role it has now, the administration said.
China is already promoting the use of renewable energy nationwide on a large scale to ensure that clean energy accounts for a large proportion of the overall energy mix in a market-oriented way at lower costs, said experts.
Wang Lu, an analyst tracking the Asian renewables sector at Bernstein, a consultancy, said use of renewables has been increasing as the NEA has proposed targets for renewable power consumption from 2021 to 2030, under which the share of renewables, including hydro, solar photovoltaics, wind and biomass in electricity consumption will rise to 40 percent in 2030, compared with 29.5 percent in 2020.
The renewables sector will see long-term growth opportunities, while equipment manufacturers will enjoy a higher sales volume as solar PV and wind gains share in the overall energy mix, said Wang.
With all provinces required to take the responsibility for the development and consumption of renewables, those that lag will need to catch up in the next decade, she said.
Clean energy development and promoting green energy consumption require strong push and clear signals from the central authorities, and the nation's track record during the 12th and the 13th Five-Year Plans proves how much the country can achieve, said Joseph Jacobelli, an independent energy analyst and executive vice-president for Asia business at Cenfura Ltd.
According to Zhang, the installed capacity for the renewables sector will witness a substantial increase during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25) to ensure that renewables account for a larger proportion of the overall energy mix.
It is expected that renewable energy will account for two-thirds of the increase in overall electricity consumption by the end of 2025. It will also account for more than half of the increments in primary energy consumption.
The country has also been witnessing a decrease in the wind and solar power wastage along with higher utilization rates. China's wind power utilization rate reached 97 percent in 2020, while solar power stood at 98 percent, the best globally, said Huang Xuenong, director of the electricity department at the NEA.
According to the administration, as the world's biggest renewable energy market and equipment manufacturer, China will continue deepening international cooperation in the renewable energy sector. The country's solar industry provides more than 70 percent of the world's photovoltaic modules.
The extensive application of renewable energy in the Chinese market has further driven down costs and pushed forward application on the global stage along with the world's eventual transition to green energy.
China is also stepping up renewable energy project investment in countries and regions participating in the Belt and Road Initiative in recent years, helping less developed countries and regions apply advanced green energy technology, said Zhang.
According to the administration, the development and utilization scale of renewable energy in China ranks first worldwide and has provided strong support for low-carbon energy transition in the country. Installed power capacity using clean energy reached 930 million kilowatts, 42.4 percent of total installed capacity, 14.6 percentage points higher compared with that in 2012.